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Published on Feb 22, 2013
"When the special interests become too powerful," warns Ben Cayetano, "the voter only has the collective conscience of the people who are in public office."
Cayetano was a popular two-term Democratic governor of the state of Hawaii who held office from 1994 to 2002. In 2012, Cayetano became alarmed by what he saw as out-of-control spending and special interests run amok. He came out of retirement and made a failed bid to become the mayor of Honolulu, Hawaii's largest city.
Cayetano opposed the city's $5.26 billion rail project, which he says costs too much and will not address Honolulu's traffic problems. The massive system and inevitable cost overruns, he fears, simply piles more debt on a government already straining under unfunded liabilities for public-sector pensions and benefits. "They are going to end up raising taxes," Cayetano told Reason TV. "Or the city will go bankrupt."
In a wide-ranging conversation, the 73-year-old Filipino American discusses the Aloha State's fiscal mess, the trouble with Hawaii's one-party government, and why he believes social issues are distracting voters from more pressing economic problems.