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Candidate’s Forum Tonight at Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale

Candidate’s forum tonight, Tuesday July 10th at Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale from 5-9pm. We will have voter registration info, info tables from many different organizations, and light refreshments will be served.

At least 26 candidates have agreed to attend so far, including Wendell Ka’ehu’ae’a, Russell Ruderman, Bob Marx, John Carroll, Lorraine Rodero Inouye, Brittany Smart, Denny Coffman, Harry Kim, Dominic Yagong, Lincoln Ashida, Paul Dolan, Ken Goodenow, James Weatherford, Zendo Kern, Karen Eoff, Chelsea Yagong, and many MORE! Candidates will be making short speeches and will be available for informal talk story sessions. A town hall forum will begin at 7:30. Please bring your questions and a friend! Check this web site for more info http://7wiseideas.org/

Sponsored by Occupy Hilo, Pele Defense Fund, Puna Pono Alliance, Ohana Ho’opakele, Malu Aina, Aloha Uprising, Na Kupuna Moku o Keawe, Heiau o Lono, Na Koa Lohe o Ke Akua, and MKrug

Congressional Candidate Marx Files Nomination Papers

Bob Marx, candidate for Hawaii’s Second Congressional District, filed nomination papers today with the Office of Elections. Marx is the only candidate from a neighbor island.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx

Marx spoke to a group of people in Keaau on Monday, discussing the problems faced by areas on the neighbor islands and in rural Oahu. “I am not running because I see an easy opportunity to win,” said Marx. “I am running because I too am fed up with the problems in infrastructure, education, and unemployment we face.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Marx discussed Hawaii’s major infrastructure problems on Kauai radio program “Soap Box Live.” Marx noted that infrastructure problems are not limited in scope to Oahu; rather, all of the islands need infrastructure upgrades. One of the key problems identified is the lack of alternate routes to some communities—and in times of emergency, traffic and gridlock has the potential to endanger lives.

As a small business owner himself, Marx discussed the nature of Hawaii’s faltering economy with Philip Matlage, owner of a small farm in Puna. “If we create tax incentives [for local businesses] we can alleviate some of the burden,” stated Marx. “Unlike the career politicians in the race, I know what hard work is like.” In a prior press release, Marx discussed the nature of his early jobs, which included jobs in the construction sector and working as a Teamster in Local 670.

Marx’s campaign manager Jose Casey remarked on how the race was progressing; noting that “[Bob] has surged ahead in many key districts where we expected more opposition.” For Marx, it appears the race is only just beginning. As he travels to the state convention today, Marx will be seeking to expand his support on Oahu.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx… “Rail is the Least Worries”

Today marked the first concrete pouring for Honolulu’s rail project, but according to Bob Marx, candidate for Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District, “Rail is the least of worries [for the State].” Honolulu’s rail project is now projected to cost over US $5 Billion, according to the project-financing plan prepared for the Federal Transit Administration.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx

Honolulu’s rail project is billed as a way to reduce traffic congestion on the freeways and generate local jobs, but research done shows that these claims are at best dubious. According to the final Environmental Impact Statement for the project, whether rail is built or not, population growth will add around 476,000 cars to the road by 2030. The rail project would reduce congestion by an insignificant 1.3%.

Speaking to a group of supporters in University Heights Thursday evening, Marx stated, “Spending over five billion on rail for one city is a waste of money, considering the various other transportation problems we have on the neighbor islands.” Forty-seven percent of rail funding comes from an excise tax increase for all Oʻahu residents, yet very few residents living on Oʻahu will benefit from the rail project. Despite this fact, even people who do not live in the area served by rail will still be paying for Honolulu’s bloated project.

Rural roads in the state of Hawaiʻi are ranked among the poorest in the nation. In September 2011, a report published by TRIP, a non-profit national transportation research group, ranked 29% of Hawaiʻi’s rural roads in poor condition. The report also ranked 16% of bridges in Rural Hawaiʻi as structurally deficient. Furthermore, poor planning and design of roads leads to increased accidents and traffic fatalities. According to a state report, in the County of Hawaiʻi, Highway 130 has accident rate nearly twice the state average, and 66% of accidents are fatalities. Marx stated that “traffic accidents in our communities can be prevented with regular maintenance and improvements to our roads…If elected, I will ensure that Hawaiʻi’s roads are improved.” With the $5 billion allocated to the rail project, the DOT could instead update transportation infrastructure, and road fatalities could be significantly reduced. For example, the same report stated that with $138 million in funds, the accident rate on Highway 130 could be reduced by 25%.

It is not just the roads that need improvement. The State of Hawaiʻi imports 80% of all its goods, and harbors in Hawaiʻi account for 98% of imports. “Our harbors need to grow as population increases, and improvements to the most needed sites in Kawaihae and Hilo will cost $423 million. Whereas these projects are essential to Hawaiʻi’s growth, the Honolulu Rail project costs significantly more and produces exponentially less benefit,” Marx said.

With more pressing transportation concerns throughout the state, one might ask why the Rail project is being built at all. Marx criticized proponents of rail as “individuals beholden to special interests.” Of the expenditures to date on the Rail Project, over $90 million was paid to Parsons Brinkerhoff, an international engineering and management firm. According to FEC campaign contribution reports, Parsons Brinkerhoff has regularly contributed large amounts of money to Mufi Hannemann, the former Honolulu mayor who initiated the Rail Project and is now running for Congress in the Second District.

When discussing the frivolity of the rail project, Marx remarked, “The rail project is a waste of money, we have real problems to solve in this state. Unlike [Hannemann], I am not beholden to any special interests. I have not taken any money from PACs. If elected, I will represent the people—that is what congress should do, that’s what I will do.”

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx on Social Security and America’s Retiring Population

Bob Marx believes Social Security is an essential program that America’s retiring population counts on for economic stability.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx

Forty percent of Americans aged 65 or older depend on Social Security to keep them from slipping below the poverty line. Despite the essential nature of the program, funds for retirees are running out.

Many view Social Security as a fund or retirement account that is tied to the individual contributor. This is not how the program actually functions. Rather, employee taxes are used to pay benefits directly to current retirees, and current payees depend on the next generation of employees to pay for their retirement benefits. The problem with Social Security’s sustainability stems from the current economic climate—higher unemployment, lower wage growth, and a 3.6% cost of living increase translate to full Social Security benefits running out in 2033—a mere 21 years from now.

Bob Marx, neighbor island candidate for Hawai‘i’s Second Congressional District, remarked on the need for Social Security reform Tuesday, commenting that “now more than ever we need to ensure our kupuna are taken care of.” Social Security is in dire need for reform—the program took in $691 billion in tax revenue in 2011, $45 billion short of the Social Security’s $736 billon in expenses. To continue paying 100% of benefits past 2033, the combined employer-employee tax rate would have to be raised 4.3% from 12.4% to 16.7%.

The problems with Social Security extend further than its potential inability to pay future benefits. The employer-employee combined tax rate burdens the employee rather than the employer. Faced with a higher tax rate, employers stay competitive by reducing employee wages to offset the higher taxes. Marx noted, “The problem [with any reform] will be preventing employers from pushing the costs onto workers… [which will] further depress our economy.”

Bob Marx has been adamant about the need to ensure our elderly are taken care of. At an event in downtown Hilo, Marx spoke with residents about the need for social security reform. “Our elderly have more expenses than ever and poverty is a real possibility.” When asked about what he would do if elected, Marx replied: “I will ensure the stability of our retirees and ensure all of our social welfare programs are solvent well into the future.” Marx proposed raising funds to pay for Social Security by increasing taxes on non-earned income. “Taxes on capital gains and dividend earnings are lower than they were 10 years ago—and look at the resulting situation our economy is in.”

As the Federal Government’s largest expenditure, Social Security is a program that is an essential public service. In this economic climate, much focus is on cutting costs and inevitably, cutting corners. “Services such as Social Security are the product of our government’s responsibility to retirees,” stated Marx. “We should prioritize those most in need, ensuring that they can retire above the poverty line.”

Congressional Candidate Marx on Honolulu Rail Project – “Impossible Financial Burden on the Entire State”

Bob Marx, Hilo attorney, bookstore owner, and candidate for Hawai‘i’s Second Congressional District, calls the Honolulu Rail Project an impossible financial burden on the entire state.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx

Speaking to a group of students in Pahoa today, Marx addressed the issue of the Honolulu rail project. “This is Mufi Hannemann’s pet project that he abandoned to run for governor, quite unsuccessfully I might add,” Marx began. “Now it appears another Honolulu politician, Tulsi Gabbard, has decided to take Mufi’s reigns and put the state deeper into financial crisis by supporting a $450,000,000 ‘paper’ loan,” Marx stated.

The original vote for the rail which passed in 2008 was for $3.7 billion and the rail was supposed to run from Kapolei to the University of Hawai‘i. Now, just the first step of the project will cost $5.3 billion, skip Salt Lake and not even get to the University.

“Gabbard continues to show her loyalty to the voters of the FIRST congressional district, which she rightfully should, as she represents many of them on the Honolulu Council. Gabbard and Mufi have no business running for a seat that encompasses the neighbor islands and should rightfully be running for the district in which they live. Both are asking Kaneohe, Kailua, Haleiwa, Wainae, Waimanalo, Makaha and the rest of rural Oahu to float the bill for this incredibly unpopular and untimely elevated train project,” Marx said, bluntly.

The city said they wouldn’t need the funds unless “the moon fell into the ocean.” Now, just a few months later, they are asking for these funds. “If this wasn’t serious business it would be laughable,” Marx quipped. “We still have the second highest per capita debt in the nation: $8000 for every man, woman and child living on the islands, and yet Honolulu wants to put us further in debt? I am happy to see Council Members Ann Kobayashi and Tom Berg opposing this impossible fiscal burden on the rest of the state.” Marx said.

Ka‘eo Malaka, a college student in Hilo, asked him what can be done to relieve the burden of traffic and congestion in Honolulu. “We can start with an improved bus system. We must prioritize support for the workers and those looking for work that don’t have transportation, not simply provide alternatives for those who do. This shouldn’t be about convenience–it should be about jobs–and this rail project does nothing to help traffic congestion in Honolulu or help people who are struggling with high fuel prices.”

Studies in cities with rail programs consistently show the same thing: when people are already using public transportation like buses, ride-shares, or light-rail, they become accustomed to not using their car and will jump on board a train. When they are not accustomed to using public transportation, the transition period is much longer and the costs and projected revenues take much longer than forecasts anticipated. The vote for the funding of the program is set for June 4th.

The Second Congressional District encompasses most of rural Oahu and all the neighbor islands. Mr. Marx, a Hilo attorney and long-time community activist, is running against Oahu residents Mufi Hannemann, Tulsi Gabbard, and Esther Kia‘aina and for the open seat. Marx lives in the district and is the only Candidate in the race from a county other than Honolulu.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx Begins Weekly Web Address

Bob Marx, neighbor island candidate for Hawai‘i’s Second Congressional District, joined Rachel Thompson for his weekly web address. This week, the pair addressed the disappearing American Dream, the economy, education, and Marx’s candidacy.

Mr. Marx was asked about the stagnant unemployment rate and bleak job forecast for many of his constituents. “I think you have to go forward, sometimes, without knowing for sure what’s going to happen but with faith and confidence in the future,” Marx said. “Even though we are in the middle of some of the most difficult economic times America has ever seen, it’s also a time of tremendous opportunity for people who have good insight…and persistence to press forward in spite of doubt.”

When asked how we can solve the growing employment crisis, Marx said: “It’s easy to say this and difficult to do, but one is to be patient and the other is to stop looking for jobs, and start looking for work…I’ve had like forty jobs, some of the most miserable conditions, and each one of those have made me a better employer and employee for myself,” Marx explained.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/xuGNmSeb-jc]

In response to a question about how an out-of-work, experienced, middle-aged employee can compete in the changing economy, Marx said that it will be tough since these types of workers expect a lot of compensation. “I think [it’s] a real serious problem…my philosophy is that you make a school available for any age person as cheaply as you possibly can–ideally free…if not it should be a very low tuition,” Marx said.

Marx said that the retraining of many of our middle-aged workers is something that must be available in the digital age in which we now live. Many older workers–once resistant to technology and digital information–now realize that it is inevitable and they must be able to use email and the internet not only to find a new job but to be employable and competitive with younger applicants.

Bob Marx Receives Nomination Papers for 2nd Congressional District Race

Bob Marx, neighbor island candidate for Hawai‘i’s 2nd Congressional District, received his Official Nomination Papers earlier today for his bid on the open U.S. Congress seat vacated by Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat formally held by Senator Daniel Akaka.

Bob Marx receives Nomination Papers for 2nd Congressional District Race”

The 2nd Congressional District represents rural Oahu and the neighbor islands. Mr. Marx, a Hilo attorney and long-time community activist, is running against former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Honolulu Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard, Esther Kia‘aina and Rafael del Castillo for the open seat race. Marx actually lives in the district and is the only Candidate in the race from an island other than Oahu.

Two of his opponents in this race do not even reside within the 2nd Congressional District, although as Marx pointed out, “they may be able to see it from their condos.”  The other two opponents currently lack viability and financial backing. Bob Marx is from the 2nd District and will fight for the 2nd District. “For years, politics in Hawai‘i has been too Honolulu-centric, and I want to change that. Having lived in Hilo, Hawai‘i for 32 years as a Trial Lawyer, I know the challenges that face small business owners on the neighbor islands,” Marx stated. “I promise to fight for the working class and stand up against corporate interests.”

Many of the issues that face the constituents on the outer islands and rural Oahu are not the same as the ones that face the residents of Honolulu. Lack of adequate public transportation and lack of energy and agricultural sustainability, have crippled many of the small towns and cities on Kaua‘i, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Maui, Oahu and the Big Island. “As your Congressman, I promise to fight for local farmers who are in need of agricultural loans and subsidies. I promise to hold the Government accountable and increase funding for energy sustainability.”

“We have the technology to decrease our dependence on imported oil, yet the Government continues to support the Big Oil business with millions of dollars in subsidies every year. We need to invest in our future – a future filled with green energy, environmental accountability, expanding our education system, and ensuring that all citizens are guaranteed the same rights under the law. The future of our children and grandchildren depend on that,” Marx concluded.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx Receives Endorsement from Hawaiian Homestead Group

Second Congressional Candidate Bob Marx is honored by endorsement from Hawaiian Homestead group.

Edwin Miranda and Michael Johns Endorse Bob Marx for Congress

At a press conference on Earth Day in Hilo, HI, Bob Marx today accepted the endorsement of two prominent members of the Hawaiian Homestead group, Edwin Miranda and Michael Johns. Speaking on behalf of thousands of friends and Homesteaders, Miranda stated: “We need a strong neighbor island candidate to represent the neighbor island issues.” Miranda continued, “He’s a good friend; known him for the past four years—he’s kind of a funny guy, but a great listener.”

[youtube=http://youtu.be/1Qo1clnLpDI]

Edwin LP “Ed” Miranda currently holds a gubernatorial appointment and serves on the Hawai‘i Island Burials Council. Mr. Miranda  is  a  graduate  of  Castle  High  School, and received  his  Bachelor  of  Science  in General Agriculture from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1988. He has also worked extensively for the USDA Soil Conservation Service on the islands of Maui and Molokai. “Eddie” is also a Navy Submarine veteran. Mr. Miranda’s testimony stated: “His extensive people skills in his years of  working in the Hawaiian community will surely serve as an asset.” Marx said he was “thrilled to have Mr. Miranda on board.”

As an attorney in Hilo, Marx has represented thousands of people over the past 32 years. The diversity of the clients Mr. Marx has is not dissimilar to the population of Hawai‘i as a whole. Marx has performed many cases pro bono (free of charge), on a wide range of legal issues, including helping women out of abusive relationships and on water rights and sewage issues in the Puna area.

Michael John, also of the Keaukaha Homestead group, spoke to Bob’s excellent record of public service, including pro bono work he had done for the people in Keaukaha. Mr. John talked about the issues that Bob had volunteered his services for, noting that: “Bob is the first ever to stand up and address Hawaiian issues with us, be it the water issue, homesteading, sewage. We’ve had these problems that have been in existence for many, many years. Bob–has just come out and volunteered his services to help us.”

“I’m behind Bob also, and everyone else I know are behind Bob…” Mr. John said. “I know they’ll like Bob. He’s the first–first ever to come forward with that help. And I thank you very much, Bob.”

“I really want to thank these friends, and brothers of mine. I want you to know that my door will always be open,” Marx humbly stated. “Even when I am elected [to] Congress I do not intend to stop listening…and to help all people of Hawai‘i improve their conditions.”

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx On Early Childhood Education

Bob Marx calls on Congress to increase funding for early childhood education immediately so that we create a brighter future for the next generation of Americans.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx

Speaking to a group of Big Island residents today, Marx stated: “The time is now to invest in early childhood education. We cannot afford to wait any longer. The state of our education system here in Hawai‘i is in shambles – our schools fall far below the national average, and many are below developing countries like Singapore. Less than half of our keiki entering kindergarten is prepared for elementary school, mostly due to not attending preschool.”

There have been dramatic cuts in preschool and pre-K programs nationwide. The results of these cuts have been especially devastating in Hawai‘i: 1 in 3 of our third grade students cannot read. “The problem is that we are on the wrong side of trying to solve the problem at the third grade level – when what we should be doing is investing in preventative measures like early education,” Marx stated.

Recent statistics show that for every $1 spent on early education there is a $4.20 return on that investment in taxpayer savings by reducing the amount of spending on social welfare services. Hawai‘i spends $16,520 per student per year to attend public schools versus $46,720 per person per year to house our prisoners. Long term studies show the quality early education leads to reduced crime, promotion of the importance of education, resulting in a more skilled workforce. The annual rate of return nears 10% on every dollar spent on early education.

“We need to start investing in young children. We can do this by making sure there is sufficient funding to train more teachers,” Marx added. “We need to stimulate this struggling economy, but we need to invest in the things that matter, in the things that will have a long-term benefit for our ’Ohana. Pouring millions into infrastructure, like fixing roads and potholes is a great way to create new jobs in the short-term. But what happens when the roads are fixed and the potholes are filled? What kind of return on that investment do we get? I can tell you that the return is nowhere near the return we will see if those same dollars are spent on early education,” Marx stressed.

“Very young children are some of the most underrepresented sector of our population. Did you know that 85% of the human brain develops before the age of 5? Children’s brains are much more active than adult brains – in children ages 3 to 10, brain function is 2 ½ times that of an adult. Studies show that poor experiences as a young child lead to devastating effects later in life, including unhealthy relationships, poor dietary habits and the inability to hold a job,” Marx continued.

Our state spends three times as much money housing prisoners than it does on education for our children: $46,720/year vs. $16,520/year. Nationally, the Federal Government spends 8 times more money on Defense than on Education. Instead of spending $1 million on one bomb, that same money could be spent on paying 25 teacher’s salaries at $40,000/year.

“We need to start investing in human potential now. It cannot wait any longer,” Marx stressed. “People insist that we cannot instill the importance of education in families who don’t put an emphasis on going to school. How can we instill the value of education to parents and grandparents who did not finish high school? We must start by investing in early education.

“Behavior is learned, but if we can instill the importance of educating our children, then we can stop that cycle. Our children are our future, and if we don’t invest in our future now, pretty soon it will be too late. We are at a tipping point. If we don’t act immediately, the long-term effects will be irreversible. If we don’t put in the money now, there will be nothing to cash in on later,” Marx continued.

“The amount of money spent of welfare services: medical assistance, food stamps, welfare subsidies, special education programs, family interventional services, mental health services, and corrections, pales in comparison to what can be saved by investing in our kids. All the millions and millions of dollars we spend annually on these services would be dramatically reduced if those same dollars were invested in educating our children now. Every five hours a child is born into poverty in Hawai‘i. We need to ensure that all of those children have access to a quality education so that they can create a better life for themselves and their families,” Marx concluded.

Bob Marx is a Democratic Candidate for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District, which represents rural Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, and the Big Island

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx on Jobs, the Economy, GMO-Labeling, and Education.

Speaking to a large crowd at the Hilo Woman’s Club this evening, 2ndCongressional District Candidate Bob Marx addressed a variety of issues including Jobs and the Economy, GMO-Labeling, and Education.

On education, Mr. Marx responded to the first question of a young woman in the audience who asked about the burden of her student loans: “New college graduates begin their careers with an average of $35,000 in student loan debt, in addition to any family repayment obligations or credit card debt they may have incurred. They face unemployment rates in the low teens, and most federally-backed student loans, like the popular Stafford program, come knocking on their doors immediately upon graduation and cannot be discharged or forgiven even through bankruptcy filing. And this Republican Congress is threatening to double the rates? That’s preposterous.”

“The near economic future for almost all college students will, unfortunately, be limited by the burden of the student loan repayment. How can we ask our kids and working families to put themselves through this?”  Marx asked, rhetorically.

Mr. Marx explained that many of the new graduates today have education debt higher than the cost of a modest home:  “That’s crazy,” he said, “the size of the debt has enormous future effects on the ability to get an affordable loan for a car to get to work or for a home to live in. To get a very low rate on a loan today, creditors look at one thing: debt-to-income ratio over an extended period. Are you good for it? They ask. Well, I think our young people and those who want to get back to work are good for it, and we should be there to help them out.”

Of course, it’s not just the college graduate who is getting hit. Many people on unemployment have seen their jobs evaporate and are left with unmarketable, less demanded skills that they once relied on for their livelihoods and well-being.

Marx responded, “If someone is out of work and has the drive to work, even in a new trade—like learning how to be a radiology lab tech, for example—then I think we, the same government and business that outsourced their last job to China or India, should be happy to contribute.”

For many young people, the overall cost of a college or university education can be managed or reduced by utilizing the Community College system for their lower division coursework and then transferring to a four-year College or University. Marx told the group, “I put myself through college working part-time and through Law School working full-time, so I know it can be done!”

When asked by a member of the audience if there was “a way out of the student-loan trap,” Marx said: “First of all, I don’t see it as a trap. True, for most, there is a financial obligation undertaken to get a higher education, and as with any large debt it may limit your future borrowing until it has been repaid. But the value of a four-year degree or a two-year certification program far outweighs the short-term burden. There is no greater investment an individual can make—or a country for that matter— than on education.”

Bob Marx restated his promise: “I will, as your Representative, work with every member of the Congress, regardless of ideology, to increase funding for and improve access to higher education and continual re-training for all Americans.”

More on Honolulu Rail Transit by Congressional Candidate Bob Marx

Last week Congressional Candidate Bob Marx released the following comments regarding Honolulu’s Rail Transit Project.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx

I just received the following update:

I’ve been asked before how a rail advocate like me can be against the proposed HART project. Let me make this clear: I am an ardent supporter of mass transit systems. Today marks the 45th anniversary of the Reverend Martin Luther King’s speech denouncing the war in Vietnam and standing up for the poor.  In this spirit, thousands of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) supporters and working people across the country stood up to have their voices heard. I commend the efforts of the folks out there on the streets in their own communities demanding that federal cuts to public transportation be stopped.

The bitter reality is that the proposed GOP budget and cuts nationwide to mass transit systems make it highly unlikely that Hawai‘i will receive the $1.5 billion in federal subsidies that Honolulu is relying on to fund the steel-on-steel elevated rail program. I cannot support a project that does not produce enough local jobs for the people of Hawai‘i nor benefit the people of my district. We are not supporting our local economy (or even the American economy) by outsourcing $1.4 billion in construction and maintenance of the trains to an Italian-owned business venture with questionable success rates. And writing the bill off on future generations or people in rural Oahu who won’t have direct access to the system is not right either.

To me, public transportation–like health care–should be a universal right for all our citizens. Dr. King knew this to be true. As this historic day draws to a close, we must be reminded that the main goal of public transportations should not be to alleviate traffic for weekday shoppers and sports fans, but to help those struggling to find work, or those paying $25 a day on gasoline and maintenance for their 40 mile commutes.

Dr. King called “urban transportation a true genuine civil right” and with ever-rising gas prices, we must make every effort to help those in the most need. The hard working people on the Waianae Coast–many struggling now just to get by–should be the first with access to a modern rail system. As the cost of living has steadily risen in the last decade, folks on the Makaha Valley have lost over 22% of their income. A modern, grounded maglev train from the Makaha through Nanakuli to Ewa beach can help those that need it the most, and at a fraction of the cost.

If the main goal of the Honolulu Area Rapid Transit (HART) is merely to alleviate traffic congestion in downtown Honolulu, I believe there are easier ways. It’s less than a quarter-mile from Hickam Air Force Base to Iroquois Point; a bridge (or tunnel if that better suits the Navy) would greatly alleviate traffic in downtown and provide an alternate route to the leeward side of Oahu and beyond. It would help everyone from Ewa Beach to Waianae to the commuters going west to east in the evenings.

Bob Marx practices law in Hilo, Hawai‘i and is a Candidate for Congress in the Second District.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx on Hawaii Prisoners in Mainland Prisons

Bob Marx, Democratic Candidate for Hawai‘i’s 2nd Congressional District, calls for an end to outsourcing Hawai‘i’s prisoners to private, mainland prisons.

Currently, the State of Hawai‘i houses 1,738 convicted prisoners in mainland, privately operated prisons in Arizona–not counting the more than 200 female prisoners who were removed from a privately-run Kentucky prison. These women were removed to protect them from physical and sexual assault.

From left: Hawaiian inmates Margarette Kealoah-Naki, Geraldine Kealoha, Patsy Kahunaele and Deenie Tanele in a holding area outside the inmate visitation room at the Otter Creek Correction Center in Wheelwright, Ky.

The State of Hawai‘i has recently unveiled a plan to return all prisoners from out of state private prisons to facilities in Hawai‘i. The initial cost of housing an inmate in Hawai‘i is greater: $128.00 per day versus $76.18 per day. The cost savings was initially thought to be worthwhile. However, when taking into account the detrimental effects of being separated from family and cultural support, the increased recidivism rates near 90%.

Bob Marx, speaking with a group of Puna Democrats today said, “Bringing back Hawai‘i’s prisoners will initially cost more due to construction costs of new facilities on Maui and the Big Island, and re-opening of the closed facility at Kulani. In addition, we need to expand the Wahiawa Correctional facility on Oahu.”

The long-term savings are estimated at $9.8 Million for fiscal 2013, $19.5 million in 2014 and $26.5 million in 2015. Marx continued, “The cost savings does not take into account the value added effect of Hawai‘i tax dollars being spent in the local economy for staffing and operating the facilities. The short-term job creation for the construction phase of the new facilities will create an immediate economic boost.”

“I will support efforts to bring federal matching funds to Hawai‘i. Then we can build the required facilities, and ensure matching federal educational funding of programs for prisoners.  With an education they are more likely to get a job and less likely to return to prison. The best public dollar spent is invested in education,” Bob Marx concluded.

Bob Marx is a Democratic Candidate for Hawai‘i’s 2nd Congressional District.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx on the Honolulu Rail Project

Bob Marx, the lone neighbor island candidate for Hawai‘i’s 2nd Congressional District, calls the proposed Honolulu Rail Project (HART) irresponsible.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx

Speaking to a group of students near the University of Hawai‘i – Hilo, Marx stated: “I stand with former Governor Cayetano in his opposition to the proposed Honolulu Rail Project. Increasing the debt for Honolulu and writing it off on rural Oahu, the neighbor islands, and our future generations is not only fiscally irresponsible but impractical.”

According to newly released Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Services, Hawai‘i ranks first in the amount of debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product and second in debt per capita: almost $8000 for every man, woman and child in the state.

“As usual, the City of Honolulu will again ask the rest of the State to pick up its tab on bloated spending projects. Importing steel from Europe will not create jobs for Hawai‘i. Working class people on Oahu have been hit hard enough already by the economic downturn, and raising taxes on them is not the solution. As a small business owner, I know the devastating effect that even a 1/2 percent excise tax increase can have on a business.”

General excise taxes are paid by businesses on gross receipts, not on revenue. Therefore, even businesses that are losing money would be asked to pay more. Documents presented by former Governor Cayetano and his supporters at a press conference yesterday outlined the questionable nature of the project’s proposed job creation statistics.

And just how will a Honolulu rail project help citizens living on the neighbor islands and the rest of Oahu? “Former Mayor Hannemann already hit rural Oahu with a 1/2 percent tax increase to fund Honolulu projects, and then abandoned them to pursue his political ambitions. It’s no secret where his priorities lie,” Marx added.

A lawsuit filed in 2011 by former Governor Cayetano and Hawai‘i’s Thousand Friends states that the city’s jobs forecasts are very misleading. Marx agrees, saying: “The lack of foresight for this project rests not on the hands of Mayor Carlisle but on his predecessor. Mayor Carlisle has been forced to make tough decisions, including reducing Police, Flood Control, and Erosion Protection budgets.

“This was Mufi’s project, and was poorly handled from the onset. Now he wants the voters of Hawai‘i’s 2nd Congressional District to give him the reigns to mismanage the neighbor islands as well.”

Bob Marx is a Democratic Candidate for Hawai‘i’s 2nd Congressional District.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx Says “Alternatives to Petroleum Equal Jobs for Hawai‘i”

Bob Marx contends that investing in alternative energy solutions is one of the best ways to rid our dependence on foreign oil, limit the effect of Wall Street speculators on prices and create jobs in Hawai‘i.

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx

“Gas prices, now over $5.00 per gallon on Kaua‘i and parts of Maui, are causing financial hardship on the working people of Hawai‘i,” Bob Marx, Democratic Congressional Candidate, stated while speaking before a group of supporters in Hilo this morning.

“Many of the people in the in rural areas of Oahu, Kaua‘i, Maui, Molokai and the Big Island must commute long distances and remain in traffic for lengthy periods of time. These working people are simply trying to get to work and paying exorbitant gas prices.”

“Our failed energy policy must be immediately transformed.  As your representative in Congress, I will push for massive private and public projects in alternative & renewable energy,” Bob Marx stressed. “We need to explore ideas like those of Wailuku Mayor Arakawa, whose administration is proposing burning landfill trash to produce up to 15 Megawatts of Electricity.”

“We must push the technological envelop and explore all technologies including Geo and Ocean Thermal, Tidal, Wind, Solar, and Biofuels,” Marx added. “The time of big oil interests telling us it’s ‘too expensive’ or ‘a decade away’ must end. Research and Development will provide the next generation with the jobs and opportunities they need to become leaders in renewable energy.”

Groups like Ocean Power Technologies, in partnership with the US Navy, have been testing grid connected “PowerBuoys,” which have clearly demonstrated the potential for wave-generated power. Marx “strongly supports” the program at Marine Corps Base Hawai‘i.

“We should be long past relying on foreign oil for our energy. We will dependent on the whims of oil speculators on Wall Street and Middle East Tycoons until we are energy self-sufficient. Unfortunately, this summer gas prices will likely climb as Iran goes into crisis and the demand in the Far East continues to rise.  We cannot continue to link our economic prosperity to the instability of the Middle East produced by relying on foreign oil,” the Big Island Democrat concluded. “As your representative to Congress, I will work tirelessly to bring R&D and new energy jobs to Hawai‘i.”

Bob Marx is a Democratic Candidate for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District, which represents rural Oahu, Maui, Kaua‘i, Molokai, and the Big Island.

 

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx on Rising Gas Prices and Increasing Home Energy Costs

Congressional District Candidate Bob Marx contends that the federal government’s current energy policy will yield record gasoline prices this summer and increase home energy costs.

Speaking to a group of Makakilo Democrats on Oahu, Bob declared, “Gas prices always go up in the summertime: this is as undeniable as global warming. Because our federal energy policy has failed to rapidly adopt ‘green energy’ alternatives, all we see are record gas prices.”

Gas prices today 3/19/12 at Paul's Service Station in Pahoa, Hawaii

The American Automobile Association recently noted the average cost of gas nationwide is $3.81 gallon, in Hawaii averaging a shocking $4.46 a gallon.

“America relies heavily on foreign oil interests, threatening our still vulnerable economic recovery. Economic recovery and long term growth can only be sustained if we rapidly convert to affordable, sustainable, and clean energy, produced here in America”.

Marx continued, “Solar, Geothermal, Wind, and Ocean energy have immediate benefits for Hawaii’s economy, and we own them. As your Congressman, I will apply skills I have acquired as a 3-term legislator and 30-year legal advocate to lead our state toward these green energy solutions. Over 90% of Hawaii’s energy is now generated with imported petroleum, an incredible drain on the state economy.”
“Purchasing unutilized geothermal generation capacity can make an immediate difference if we purchase it first, rather than generate with oil. Solar, Wind, and Geothermal alternatives offer the best homegrown answer.”

Bob Marx supports research and development of clean energy. “Geothermal hot-spots exist on all of Hawaii’s islands except Kauai and should be utilized to generate electricity. We own the resource–let’s use it responsibly”.

“Adequate funding for Universities is required at the state and national levels to advance these technologies. We must also improve economic incentives for the private sector to develop alternative energy sources,” the Big Island Democrat emphasized.

“The quickest fix for energy conservation is increased vehicle fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. We need tax credits so that average Americans can purchase newer vehicles. The average age of America’s vehicles is nearly 11 years old; for the sake of the environment, many of these older vehicles should be retired and replaced.”

The American Automobile Association has found that replacing vehicles over 8 years old with newer ones would increase the energy efficiency of America’s vehicle fleet by more than 15%.

Marx concluded, “If Hawai’i and the U.S. are to move forward from this recession, we must minimize our reliance on foreign oil, get off the fence when it comes to alternative energy, and lower oil imports with more efficient vehicles. If we continue to rely almost exclusively on petroleum imports for energy, it will be disastrous for the economy and ultimately the environment.”
Bob Marx’s experience as a legal advocate for the environment spans 30 years. He has written, sponsored, and supported more than 10 bills while a Representative in Oregon and has also represented numerous environmental groups in Hawaii.

Bob Marx is a Democratic candidate for US Congress in Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District. The district includes Maui County, Hawai’i County, Kauai County, and rural (north shore) Oahu.

Congressional Candidate Marx Calls War on Women’s Rights a “Battle of Republican Dinosaurs”

Bob Marx, Democratic candidate for Hawai‘i’s 2nd Congressional District, calls the present GOP campaign against women’s rights a “Battle of Republican Dinosaurs.”

Bob Marx, speaking to a group of female Democrats on Thursday, declared that “We have not seen such a draconian attack on women’s reproductive rights since the 1960’s and 1970’s. The GOP is trying to take back women’s fundamental right to make reproductive choices. We must not allow this to happen.”

Marx continued, “These ‘Republican Dinosaurs’ are trying to take women’s rights, women’s health, and their economic security. They are not going to stop anytime soon. Hawai‘i must send a Democrat to Congress who will fight them.”

“As your Congressman I will never forget that Patsy Mink’s district is the district of women’s equality, equal rights for all, and concern for women’s issues,” Marx stressed.

“Opponents of the equal rights gains are leveling attacks against American women every single day,” the Hawai‘i Democrat emphasized.”  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents know that looking backward politically to a time when women and their rights were suppressed is wrong for women, men and America,” Democratic candidate Marx stressed.

“We need to come together and rise to the challenge facing women on these issues,” Bob Marx concluded.

Bob Marx’s great Aunt was the first woman ever elected to the U.S. Congress, Jeannette Rankin.

Bob Marx is a Democratic candidate for congress in the 2nd Congressional District.  The district includes Maui County, Hawai’i County, Kauai County, and rural Oahu.

 

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx on Genetically Engineered Foods (GMO)

Democratic Congressional candidate Bob Marx calls for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling of genetically engineered foods.

Responding to a February 8th letter from US Congress to the FDA, where Democratic leaders Barbara Boxer (CA) and Peter DeFazio (OR) asked the FDA  to consider a legal petition filed by 400+ companies and organizations to demand that the FDA label genetically engineered food, Bob Marx declared:

“Our keiki and ‘ohana have been eating genetically engineered food for almost 15 years now. We don’t know if it is safe for them. As your Congressman, I will demand that Americans know the risks of genetically engineered food. We must demand that the federal government require transparency in the gentic engineered food industry.”

Marx continued, “Almost 80% of processed foods in US supermarkets contain genetically engineered ingredients.  Yet, we are one of the only industrialized nations in the world where we are not given the right to chose if we want to eat these potentially harmful products. This right to choose is a fundamentally American principle. Americans need to know what is in their food.”

In preparation for Wednesdays televised Town Hall meeting, hosted by the Hawai’i Democratic Party Environmental Caucus in Moanalua, O’ahu, Bob Marx had the following to say:

“The FDA says their hands are tied when it comes to labeling of genetically engineered food. We need to untie their hands – now. Genetically engineered food labels are required in 50 countries around the world, but not in America. Hawai’i’s residents live alongside genetically engineered food farms throughout the state, yet its risks are not known. Hawai’i’s newborns breathe in pollen that contain genetic material from experimental crops.”

“You can stop using DDT. You can recall a pesticide if you find out it’s harmful. But you can’t recall DNA. We must demand that the federal government require transparency in the genetically engineered food industry.”

Marx concluded, “We must stop tax breaks for large corporations that use Hawai’i as a genetics laboratory. That energy and those tax dollars must be redirected to benefit local farmers who are a cultural and economic backbone to our state. Instead, we must invest in sustainable agricultural initiatives at Universities and local organizations, to protect our biodiversity and the livelihoods of Hawai’i’s hard-working people.”

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx Fights For Equal Representation Of Neighbor Island Candidates

East Hawaii attorney and Democratic Congressional candidate, Bob Marx, calls for fair representation of neighbor island candidates in statewide media.

In response to the February 14 poll in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Bob Marx says that the poll explicitly privleges O’ahu candidates over neighbor island candidates. This, he states, is part of a broader trend in which the social and political concerns of neighbor islands are neglected by statewide media entities.

“Over 60 percent of voters in Hawai’i’s second congressional district reside on a neighbor island. It is a great disservice to the neighbor island communities, whom I seek to represent in Congress, that the Honolulu Star Advertiser has framed this critical second district race as a “two candidate race” between two Honolulu-based candidates.” He continued by stating, “It is exactly this exclusion, or indifference to the concerns of rural Hawai’i, that I will fight against in Congress.”

Hawai’i’s Second Congressional District includes rural O’ahu from Waimanalo to Waianae, as well as Hawai’i Island, Maui County, and Kaua’i County. Because sixty percent of voters in this district reside on a neighbor island, there has been marked public outcry to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s exclusion of neighbor island candidate and community advocate Bob Marx.

The polling methodology used by the Star Advertiser for the 2nd District Congressional Race has been drawn into question by several rural Hawai’i residents. Big Island professional Joy Hudson-San Buenaventura has stated, “Only 29% of Hawaii resident who were polled are actually from neighbor islands, and yet they represent over 60% of the district. That is a disparity. It’s no coincidence that the only two 2nd District candidates mentioned in the poll are from Honolulu. Rural residents and neighbor island people are always underrepresented in polls and we will vote.”

The way rural Hawai’i residents vote, however, is inextricably shaped by the media.

Bob Marx declared, “I have spent my career in Hawai’i advocating for senior citizens, single parents, and the underemployed in rural areas when they need it the most. Hawai’i needs someone who can effectively represent the neighbor islands and it’s undemocratic to see the race being defined as a two-person contest so early by the media.”

“Families are hurting and communities are stretched thin. I have been there. This election comes down to what best serves the family. My family and my community doesn’t need more of the same; it needs new and effective leadership. I know your struggles and I am excited to meet with you on the campaign trail. Our roads and schools are crumbling and our small farms lack infrastructure to raise their productivity. Voters deserve to know who are their options for candidates in the 2nd Congressional District, beyond those portrayed by Honolulu.”

“I am in this congressional race to win. I will continue to fight, unequivocally, for equal representation for the concerns and needs of rural O’ahu, Hawai’i Island, Maui County and Kaua’i County.”

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx Endorses Bill to Increase Income Taxes for Millionaires

Democratic Congressional candidate Bob Marx supports a national bill to increase millionaires’ income tax rate to 30 percent. The bill, to be introduced by U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D – Rhode Island), would bring in about $50 billion a year.

Bob Marx

Speaking to a group of Kaneohe democrats on Wednesday Bob Marx said:

“It is just wrong that an investment fund manager – who makes more than $1 million per year – pays a lower tax rate than Hawai’i’s hard-working teachers and construction workers. There is too much economic insecurity and debt in America for millionaire investors such as Mitt Romney to only pay a 14 percent tax rate.”

Bob Marx stressed “Legislation that would require multi-millionaires whose earnings are based on investments to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes is a good start towards fairness.”

Senator Whitehouse’s future bill would require individuals whose income exceeds $1 million from investments or hedge-funds to pay up to 30 percent of their income in taxes.  The policy group Citizens for Tax Justice estimates that this would provide the U.S. government in about $50 billion a year.

Bob Marx is rallying support for this bill as part of his campaign for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District, which represents rural O‘ahu and the neighbor islands. The Obama administration has also supported this bill.

“Corporations have had explosive profits in the past 10 years, while much of America is either unemployed or have had their salaries cut. We need to overhaul tax laws to restore the middle class. Too many Americans have lost their homes and their jobs from this past decade’s recession for millionaires not to pay their fair share.”

Congressional Candidate Bob Marx on Hawaii Bill That Would Track and Record Website Visits

Bob Marx, Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress’ 2nd Congressional district, announced today his opposition to HB 2288, a Hawaii bill that would force Hawaii’s internet service providers (ISP) like Verizon, AT&T, and local internet providers like Hawaiian Telcom, Mobi PCS, and Oceanic Time Warner Cable, to track and record every website that a subscriber visits, as well as storing the information for at least two years. The bill would require ISP’s to store the subscriber’s personal information as well as the internet content they visited without any form of protection or encryption.

“This bill is alarming, to say the least,” Marx stated earlier today, “with the recent controversy over the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the news, I am concerned that these two bills, along with HB 2288, will have a huge impact on American’s freedom of speech as well as their first and fourth amendment rights under the Constitution.”

Marx went on to state “I am opposed to any type of internet censorship, and I believe the majority of the public can agree that censoring our access to the internet, restricting website content, and tracking and storing subscriber information, all violate our rights to privacy and free speech.”