Kids question Honolulu mayoral candidates

Kids question Honolulu mayoral candidates
Regina Huang
Regina Huang
Kirk Caldwell
Kirk Caldwell
Ben Cayetano
Ben Cayetano

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The result of the Honolulu mayoral race will shape Oahu for not only the next four years but generations which is why students asked all the questions in the last debate with the candidates before Election Day.

The debate was hosted by the Rotary Club of Honolulu and held at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.  Four St. Andrew's Priory students came up with the questions.  Rail was only asked about once and it was more about traffic than transit.  Most questions focused on the future.

"Knowing that in today's economy we are running short on new job opportunities how do you see yourself as an active participant creating new jobs?" asked Regina Huang, a senior at St. Andrew's Priory.

Kirk Caldwell answered that question with youth in mind wanting to entice tech companies saying he would wire every major street with high speed internet.

"If we just do this one thing it will enhance the kind of businesses we want to attract here," said Kirk Caldwell, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate. "I've seen no mayor yet do that and I think it's about time someone steps up and says welcome, we like you here. We want to work with you better."

Ben Cayetano answered with what he wouldn't do, raise taxes.  He said it all comes back to fixing infrastructure, specifically naming Kapiolani Boulevard between McCully and Date Streets as an example of needing upgrades.

"We need to upgrade the sewers and water system there and if we do that I think it will motivate private developers to come in and build," said Ben Cayetano, Honolulu Mayoral Candidate.

Cayetano admitted the job description of mayor didn't appeal to him in the past.

"One reason I never wanted to run for mayor, because I wasn't interested in sewers and parks and all that, but I am interested now because I know what needs to be done and what can spur the economy here," said Cayetano.

Caldwell called Cayetano a one issue candidate, uninterested in anything but rail.

"It's about garbage, sewers, water, road repaving, the nitty gritty stuff.  I love that stuff, I try to talk about it everywhere I go. My wife thinks I'm sick and crazy I like it so much, but I want to worry about it so you don't," said Caldwell.

The students asked about parks, the environment and utility bills.  Caldwell supports the interisland power cable plan, solar energy credits, and conserving water with separate systems that deliver potable water to the home and gray water to the landscaping.

Cayetano talked about landfill solutions, recycling and using H-Power ash in roadwork.

"As a sophomore in high school going away to college in a couple of years how do you plan to ensure I will have equal opportunity and pay when I return to Hawaii to work? What incentives would you provide for young women to stay in Hawaii for their career?" asked Kirah Wurst, St. Andrews Priory student.

"I would make sure my administration reflects this community. That means a balance between men and women in top and mid level positions," responded Caldwell.

Cayetano pointed out he hired Margery Bronster, the first female attorney general in Hawaii, while he was Governor.

"I appointed her despite the fact there were others who felt I should not appoint, as some put it, some Jewish wahine from New York," said Cayetano.

At times the candidates sounded different.  Other times they were exactly the same.

"Actions speak louder than words," said Caldwell, early in the debate.

"Actions speak louder than words," said Cayetano, later in the debate.

And your vote will speak volumes as well.

Election Day is Tuesday November 6.

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