Mariano for Governor

My Response to
the Honolulu Star Advertiser Questionnaire


2022 Election: Governor

The answers provided here will be displayed, as is, at prior to the 2022 primary 

Name on ballot*: Lynn Barry Mariano

Political party*: Republican 

Campaign website:

Current occupation*: Continuity of Government, and Command and Control consultant

Age*: 65


Previous job history:

Chief at Physical Implementation Division (PSID), Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA), Project Integration Office (PIO) 2009 – 2017; Deputy Director at Pentagon Force Protection Agency, Office of Emergency Management, (PFPA OEM) 2007 – 2009; Project Manager at Camber Corporation, Defense Readiness Reporting System (DRRS), Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, DRRS Integration Office (DIO) and Personnel and Readiness (P&R) 2006 – 2007; Project Manager at ICF Consulting  1998 – 2007; Designated Subject Matter Expert at U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Justice Programs, Office for Domestic Preparedness (OJP-ODP), Exercise and Evaluation Division, and State and Local Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP), 2003 – 2007; Designated Subject Matter Expert at Universal Task List (UTL), Target Capability List (TCL), Exercise Evaluation Guide (EEG), and performance metrics for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP), 2004 – 2007; Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Radiological Exercise Program-Off-Site Response (REP) Technical Evaluator and ICF FEMA Region X Coordinator 2000-2007; Exercise Design Team Leader Metropolitan Medical Response System, Federal Emergency Management Agency (MMRS-FEMA), 2004-2007; Project Manager and Lead Exercise Planner Nebraska Functional Exercise, Department of Homeland Security-Office of Domestic Preparedness,  2003 – 2007; Technical Advisor and Subject Matter Expert at ICF Consulting supporting Continuity of Operations (COOP)/Continuity of Government (COG), 2002 – 2007; Technical Support and Assistance at Chemical Demilitarization Program (CHEM DEMIL) and the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP), 1999 – 2007; Work Assignment Manager at Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Emergency Operations Center (EOC), 1999-2003; Auditor for the Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Transit Administration Drug and Alcohol Program (FTA D/A Program), 2000 – 2004; Exercise Planner at U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Training Development Exercises 1999-2000; Subject Matter Expert at Exercise “Ruby Slippers,” Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Radiation and Indoor Air, 2003-2004; Independent Agent and Registered Representative, United Services Planning Association and Independent Research Agency (USPA & IRA) 1995 – 1997; US Army 1978 – 1995.

Previous elected office, if any:

Though I am not a politician, I have always found ways to support my community and my country.

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

First off, I am a local boy who understands the unique culture of our islands. Growing up in Hawai’i, I embraced the rich diversity of the people here, and recognize the importance of community. Throughout my adult life, I sought to take on the toughest jobs, and find ways to bring the best out of peers and subordinates alike. I have been an acting commander for a combat deployed unit in the US Army and personally selected to support the establishment of the elite US Army Special Operations Command. After retirement, I continued my service in various leadership positions at the Pentagon and in support of the Department of Homeland Security. I honed my leadership skills, learned to actively listen to opposing perspectives and think critically about problems to put forward the best workable solutions. I know what it means to serve, I know what it means to be accountable, and I know how to solve extremely complex issues alone or with a team of teams. My service record to our nation speaks for itself, and I am prepared to serve the people of Hawai’i on day one.

What will be your top priority if elected?

My top priority is to make Hawai’i affordable. This will be a challenging task, but one which deserves my utmost attention. Hawai’i’s residents are being punished for living here, burdened with outrageous fees and taxes at every turn. I plan to collaborate with legislators, industry leaders and other stakeholders to find solutions to reduce or eliminate these crippling costs. 

Rising inflation has significantly worsened Hawaii’s already high cost of living. What can be done at the state level to help Hawaii residents cope with high consumer prices?

The most obvious solution is to modify the Jones Act. Doing so would ensure Hawai’i is recognized as the 50th State, lowering shipping costs to the islands and in turn, driving open market competition. It would also reduce prices of goods for local consumers, increase maritime trade, and bring higher paying jobs to the islands. Hawai’i would have greater freedom to import goods from around the world, and each neighbor island would benefit from international maritime trade and commerce. Hawai’i would be able to fully embrace its role as a conduit between east and west in the middle of the Pacific.

Hawaii’s rising gasoline prices are among the highest in the nation. Should Hawaii lower or temporarily suspend state taxes on gasoline to help ease the pain at the pump?

Yes, legislation should be introduced to suspend state gasoline taxes. Hawai’i’s elected officials need to use every means at their disposal to curb the astronomical costs at the pump. I would issue an executive order to freeze gas prices to no more than $4.00 a gallon for the next four years. I would call an emergency session of the legislature to discuss the economy and request the $2 billion in excess taxes and apply it to the gasoline tax, utilizing some of the money to reduce the GE tax on food and medicine. If the crisis is not resolved within six months, a state of emergency would be declared to release additional funds to offset the continued high costs. I would further request Presidential intervention through the Stafford Act which would provide additional resources to help Hawai’i residents.

What is your plan to help protect Hawaii residents’ health during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic?

If another COVID or other pandemic occurs, I would work together with our State Department of Health to find solutions which meet CDC guidelines, while still allowing private citizens their right to choose to mask up and/or receive vaccinations and boosters. The onus should be on individual businesses to enforce safety standards within their establishments, but people should have the freedom of choice whether to get vaccinated or not. The politicization surrounding the COVID response eroded the public’s trust in elected officials, and some of the decisions by Hawai’i’s policymakers violated their civil liberties. 

Do you support or oppose efforts to slow or limit the number of tourists to Hawaii? Please explain.

I believe our islands should be shared with the world and welcome visitors to continue coming to our state. That said, due to popularity of local sites on social media, we are seeing overcrowding in areas clearly marked as off-limits and in traditional residential neighborhoods. There is a growing trend of disrespect towards our rules, values, and culture here in the islands, and we need to explore methods to reduce this type of behavior.

How can Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy be diversified, and what can state government do to support the effort?

Though tourism is our primary industry and will continue to be the major source of income, it should not be the only one. I plan to expand our economic industries and provide tax incentives to businesses investing in our local economy. As governor, I will work with congressional leaders to leverage federal funding to enhance economic growth. I will engage with county mayors, community organizers, local and national unions, business owners, and investors willing to work within our proposed revised business laws to diversify our economy with higher paying jobs. We need to be pro-active in maximizing our island’s resources to self-sustain, and to establish food security mechanisms by reinvesting in agriculture, food production, farming, and fishing industries. I will pursue bringing back diversified transportation options like the Super Ferry to enhance interisland connectivity. This will stimulate the economy by enabling streamlined interisland commerce for our local businesses, and ultimately increase business-related infrastructure projects on each island.

What is your plan to increase affordable housing in Hawaii, and to help the counties deal with homelessness?

There are a myriad of methods to lower overall costs to Hawai’i taxpayers. These include modifying the Jones Act, eliminating the General Excise Tax, and changing the way the state charges for vehicle registration. Hawai’i’s residents are being overwhelmed by the proverbial “death by a million cuts” that makes living here unaffordable. I propose exploring options which would take existing struggling hotels on the outskirts of Waikiki and convert them into affordable housing units for first time home buyers, or low-middle class renters earning up to $125,000. To help our middle-class, I plan to collaborate with elected officials, developers, unions, OHA, state planners, banking industry representatives, and other stakeholders to reduce over-regulated policies and laws, streamline permit processes, modify our state and county land-use agreements, revisit zoning regulations, and return savings back to Hawaii’s taxpayers. 

Regarding the homeless, I believe most are honest, hardworking citizens who are down on their luck in a place where the cost of living simply prevents them from getting back on their feet. My goal is to work with local legislators, and local and federal homeless programs to find dignified solutions and help those in need. We need to find solutions to get them the help they need with the ultimate goal of reintegration into society.

Hawaii isn’t likely to see a repeat of this year’s $2 billion revenue surplus which allowed higher-than-normal spending on state programs and projects. If elected, what will your top spending priorities be?

The $2 billion surplus should be applied toward the gas tax to offset costs incurred by Hawai’i residents. While it sounds appealing to send each Hawai’i taxpayer a check for $200-$300, it does nothing more than apply a temporary bandage on skyrocketing prices in our islands. My top spending priorities are to modernize our state government by making digital solutions more accessible and establishing electronic solutions to reduce the current bureaucracy that takes up residents’ time and money. I am extremely concerned about our crumbling infrastructure and would develop a methodical plan to address roadways, bridges, electrical grid and food and water security. Let’s engage experts at our local universities to discuss and implement alternative energy solutions and reduce energy costs for residents. I am a proponent of utilizing geothermal energy and want to find workable solutions for our state.

What, if anything, should state government do in response to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade?

The question of abortion is a complex and multi-faceted issue. Hawai’i should not change its existing laws protecting the right to choose an abortion. As governor, I would be responsible for taking care of all of Hawai’i’s people, not just one spectrum of voters. I would not advocate overturning access to abortion services in the state as it would place unnecessary travel and financial burdens on women who choose to have an abortion. Nor will I place women at risk of botched abortions. Though I personally do not support abortion, I firmly believe that any woman who has made an informed decision to obtain an abortion should receive quality medical care from a licensed medical practitioner at a licensed health facility. That said, I would work with our legislators to introduce state laws providing educational materials on possible options to abortion. I propose to make counseling and spiritual guidance available as well. Finally, I would focus on removing or eliminating bureaucratic obstacles to streamline the adoption process in Hawai’i.

What should state government do to support and improve public education in Hawaii?

Every family should be able to provide their children with a high-quality K – 12 education without resorting to private schools, while taking on multiple jobs to pay tuition and potentially incur crippling debt. Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that does not use its property taxes to pay for public school education. This is a travesty! We can improve our public school system, give families attractive educational choices, and lower financial stressors by doing so. Let’s stop treating property revenue as a petty cash jar and allocate it for public school education and/or use the lottery to help improve our education system. We should allow school of choice, diversify public school curriculum and incentivize locals to join our teaching community. Teachers should receive higher wages, better retirement benefits, and there should be a band for educators with PhDs. I would support programs which promote childcare, education for parents and children, behavioral health resources to deal with increasingly “normal” stressors, support to families and children with disabilities, and programs which leverage the experience and expertise of our kupuna community.  Providing opportunities for kupuna to be involved in sharing their knowledge with the next generation can have a tremendous impact.

What reforms, if any, would you propose to make state government more transparent to the public?

As governor, I would institute an open-door policy making the governor and legislators more accessible to the public and ensure sessions involving public matters are open to the public. Furthermore, proposed bills would not succumb to wasteful spending in the form of special interest initiatives. I would implement a line-item veto, while showing the public exactly what legislators are voting on.

Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?

I support the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. I am pro-Astronomy, just like our ancestors. Hawai’i’s location to observe the night sky is unparalleled. As long as we treat the land with great cultural reverence, we should move forward with building new telescopes to better understand the universe, and ultimately, our place within it.  As Governor, I would appoint a Task Force with key stakeholders from all agencies and parties involved to explore and implement a solution that satisfies ongoing concerns.

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