Democratic U.S. House of Representatives hopeful Miles Shiratori sees jobs and education as the most critical issues facing Hawaii in the upcoming elections.
He has a few ideas how Hawaii can create and attract more jobs, he said.
“If I get elected, I will start giving tax incentives to bring businesses to Hawaii,” he said. “We could attract a lot of technology type things.”
Farmers could also use more tax incentives, so Hawaii could continue to boost its agricultural businesses.
Incentives also play a role in how Shiratori proposes to address the issue of insufficient Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to Hawaii’s physicians.
Doctors often cite those reimbursement levels in closing practices across the state. Shiratori said he has as a friend, a doctor who stopped taking Medicare and Medicaid patients because of those reimbursement levels.
The federal government should offer more incentives for doctors to keep those patients, he said.
Education is also an issue, he said, because he still meets young people — most recently an 18-year-old just out of high school — who still cannot read or write.
“That’s horrible,” he said.
He’d like to see more federal education dollars directed toward Hawaii to help prevent that from happening.
Shiratori said he sees room in the Department of Defense budget for cuts. He questioned requests for more radar and new satellites, noting the military already has that kind of equipment in place.
The country should take more steps to allow more tourists within its borders, Shiratori said.
“I would try to get rid of all the regulations to get more tourists over here,” he said, adding that he supports a visa waiver program for Chinese tourists, like the one Congress is currently considering.
West Hawaii could use a better transportation system than the one now in place, he said.
He would support some kind of rail, even, although not the steel-on-steel that is being built on Oahu right now.
He doesn’t favor any cuts to Social Security.
“I plan to fight to keep it and not take any money out of it,” he said, adding that the Social Security fund is not a rainy day fund. “Let it grow and help kupuna.”
Shiratori said he favors getting Hawaii an exemption from the Jones Act, which requires all ships sailing between U.S. domestic ports to be American-flagged, crewed and owned.
That prevents foreign ships from stopping in Hawaii on their way to the U.S. mainland.