2018 Primary Election Candidates

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BERISH, George L.
Name on ballot:

BERISH, George L.

Running for:

U.S. Senate

District (if applicable):


Political party:


Campaign website:


Current occupation:

Retired Actuary



Previous job history:

Please see What Qualifies Me to Represent the People of Hawaii (below)

Previous elected office, if any:


What qualifies you to represent the people of Hawaii?

I spent a lifetime preparing to serve in public office before offering to serve. I didn’t make a career out of politics.

--- In 1963 I was a 16-year old freshman Physics major and graduated at the top of Math and Science majors with a full scholarship for advanced physics. But on the day of my last final I learned the promise I could repay 2 years of help from the Army with 4 years of service after grad school wasn’t worth the paper it wasn’t written on.

I've never since been suckered that badly again. It guarantees I won't be suckered into any political boondoggles on Hawaii’s behalf either. (Stadiums guaranteed to rust. Convention centers w/main-hall ceilings too low for TV cameras. A world class harbor wasted on a junk food court with no parking, then a school dormitory. Rail?)

--- Instead of a scholarship, I celebrated my 21st birthday alone in the N. Florida Everglades in Ranger School where I did as I have always done. I did well everything asked of me and completed the training.

However, I will not diminish the value of the Ranger Tab earned by better men than I was by claiming I earned it as well. I didn’t. Among other things, it required approval of your peers, and mine voted me not a team player. It hurt. But it wasn’t unfair.

A boy who spent intermediate school, high school, and college being two years younger than his classmates wasn't much invited to be part of anyone's teams or social groups. So, I wasn't.

--- I turned 22 and 23 in Vietnam. I was never any commanding officer's idea of a perfect subordinate, but I did as I have always done. I got done all that was asked of me, and took care of those who reported to, and depended on, me.

So, to the credit of my commanding officers’ integrity, I was awarded a Bronze Star for my first tour and added an Oak Leaf cluster in my second.

To Hawaii, that means I know that those who are never the first choice of those who always are, still have much to offer. Or as I once read, America wasn't made great by a few exceptional people. It was made exceptional by ordinary people uniting to accomplish great things.

--- After almost 5 years I resigned from the Army. I fell in love with Ann. We were married on November 20, 1971. I loved her then. We are still married. I love her still.

And I think it's a really big deal she still loves me and thinks I'm a great guy.

--- Next I worked full time and studied all nights, and weekends and in 4 1/2 years I completed the 10 exams required to become a Fellow of the Society. (With shameless immodesty, the average time taken by the very few people who ever finish them at all was well over 10 years.)

My specialty was funding large scale retirement plans and systems.

My career began as part of the actuarial team that served companies like GE and the Teamsters' Central State pension plan (when corruption had put it into government receivership).

I served as actuary to the Retirement Systems of Philadelphia, Miami, and several other local governments. Plus a host of publicly traded companies.

--- In 1981 Hawaii became my home where I eventually established and managed an office as a partner in an international actuarial firm. And from Hawaii I served as actuary to many retirement plans:

Retirement Plans of Hawaii's Big Five when they were still big enough to have real retirement plans. Before Hawaii’s lead banks led the parade of Hawaii companies out of retirement plans an into 401(K) plans.

I served as actuary to the US-model Social Security Systems adopted by the Republic of Palau and Federated States of Micronesia. And the Government Employees Retirement System of the Northern Mariana Islands. (Beginning when they were still a WW–II Trust Territories.)

Also Hawaii's largest union-industry multi–employer pension plans. Hotel, Stevedore and Construction industries.

Taken all together, that means I know exactly what's wrong with the US Social Security System. And how to fix it. Better than any other Congressional incumbent or candidate.

I also know Hawaii’s Retirement System even better than the actuary paid by the Retirement System Board to represent the interests of union members. I know what put it into today’s death spiral that’s taken it from 103% fully funded in 2000 to being an entire Rail System short. And is still deteriorating. And I know how to fix it in a way that better respects what should be union principles than today’s system of superior and inferior benefit classes.

But a half century as an adult is a long time, so there’s much I left out and much more to tell. And the only way voters get to ask about it is to vote me past the primary.

Do that and I pledge to force a Public Debate that is interesting, informative, and useful enough to make the 50% of voters who no longer show up to vote for anyone any more at all good reason to feel they can’t afford to sit out this election … again.

What are the top three challenges facing the voters you seek to represent?

I seek to represent the solid majority of US citizens who make Hawaii our home. Those who stand unshakable for God, Country, Family and Community. Honesty, Fairness, and Integrity.

Some may be members of the Democrat Party that’s traditionally spoken for those who don’t have the ability to individually influence the economy. But have not followed today’s Democrat Party leaders in their march toward progressive socialism.

Others may be members of the Republican Party that’s traditionally spoken for those who do have the ability to individually influence the economy. But who understand the difference between Free Market Economics (Steve Jobs/Apple) that leaves behind more than it begins with, and Capitalism (Mitt Romney/Bain Capital) that leaves behind less than it finds.

Nothing is more important to Hawaii. and the rest of America. than the Education of the next generation on whom we will all depend before we die.

Professional Educators in government schools (who answer to a board appointed by politicians) tell us they know the Process of Education and we don’t.

But I was blessed with Teachers in Public Schools (who answered to a board parents and the Public elected) who taught me how to Learn better than most everyone. Something I have been tested many times to prove. And I can tell you that Learning is done exactly like common sense tells you it is done.

Therefore, one thing I can do as a US Senator is make sure federal money sent to Hawaii’s schools is earmarked for Learning not Socialization.

CHALLENGE TWO: End the exploding 3rd part of Hawaii’s 3-part “Homeless” problem.

Part 1 is the fixed percentage of people cursed with severe mental illness. Their numbers haven’t increased. They hide alone in fear. They don’t boldly colonize Public property.

Part 2 are those down on their luck: Their numbers decrease as the economy improves. They use the shelters and services already available to get back on their feet. They also don’t colonize Public property either.

Part 3 are vagrants who simply prefer the responsibility-free, obligation-free, contribution-free, leisurely life style Hawaii’s blessed weather and free feeding stations enable. They are the most aggressively problematic. Their numbers are exploding. And they are the group that is colonizing Public Property.

They need meaningful, dignified structured work. I’ll start by suggesting Hawaii set them to work Terraforming the windward side of our mountains into rice paddies the way China built theirs. To increase food independence. End island-eating erosion, create tourist fascinating beauty.

This is a video I once made with the details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6odyQj5NZmU.

I had to learn everything involved with editing and animating it as I went. So, it’s an admittedly C grade video. But the argument it makes is still A+.]

CHALLENGE THREE: Lack of Affordable Home.
The problem is not a lack of affordable homes. It is Hawaii’s lack of industries that offer decent paying work.

Therefore, to me the search for ever cheaper boxes to live in is a curse not a solution. Just visit places like Jamaica, which is another all tourism-based economy. Affordable Homes for everyone so long as they don’t mind tar paper shacks.

What makes 100% Tourism the problem is it forces Hawaii’s workers into direct competition with places where workers are kept desperately cheap by neglect of education, and governments corruption.

That’s because wealth comes for accumulated capital, not mom and pop shop enterprises or “side hustles”. For example, 10,000 auto workers with billions of capital equipment can producer a 1,000 times more automobiles than 10,000 workers each building autos in her or his own garage.

And Tourism seems to always end up with the capital owned by foreigners to build more capital elsewhere. While it traps the host location’s labor in an economy that builds none.

Therefore, the solution is to make Hawaii more attractive to industries that are more productive than tourism. That will be very hard. But it is not impossible.

And like all first aid, it begins by stopping the bleeding. Take the Supper Ferry. It was a magnificent, example of high technology and incredible engineering
Hawaii’s children could not only look at, but ride and experience. Owned in Hawaii.

Therefore, not on my watch, would I have allowed Hawaii’s power centers to run it out of town, so they could keep profits inflated by a lack of competition.
CHALLENGE THREE 1/2: Get and redirect the $2 billion promised by the federal government.

I intend to get it. And get it applied to something more intelligent than a central-planners wet dream of building a 1930’s style Big Box people mover.

Ann and I lived for several years in Rail’s poster child city – Boston. We had full time careers but no car. It was a mistake then. It is worse today.

For starters 1930’s style Big Box Rail cars are perfect flue incubators. Never before, and never since, have we been sick as often as in those years. There are many other problems we lived with that today’s central planners never have.

One new idea to look at: $1 billion alone is enough to buy 40,000 $25,000 little AI-Driven Smart Cars. Think Uber with no driver. Think Lime Scooters accessible to the disabled and elderly.

My point: There are many better choices than bailing out Italy’s failing Rail Car builders and their workers. I will find them. And fight for them.

If elected, what will be your highest legislative priority?

I am offering to serve in public office to protect all Americans’ rights, and to pursue the interests of Hawaii’s citizens.

But I’m grown up enough to know that no matter who Hawaii sends to the Senate, she or he will be a junior senator. And the US Senate is an old-guy’s club that distributes power and perquisites based on seniority.

That means my first job is to convince my fellow senators -- all of whom will be more senior than I am -- they can trust my honesty, integrity and intelligence enough to include me in the many difficult discussions that result in legislation.

The federal and Hawaii’s governments already runs on borrowed money, therefore, there is no leftover money looking for a good use. And that means the luxury of funding every really, really, good idea doesn’t exist.

The reality is that every penny spent on anything important to me or you, must be taken from something equally important to someone else. That is never an easy problem to discuss honestly. But it is made impossible by politicians who can’t resist the urge to grab a microphone and Spin what was honestly discussed with them in private to their own political advantage.

Therefore, my first job is to convince peers on all sides of every problem I can be safely included in in serious discussions of how to solve serious problems without others worrying I will use what is shared with me in private discussions to take cheap political shots for my own advantage.

And of course, once included, they need to believe I will bring new ideas to the table honestly and intelligently. Not just show up to blurt out glittering generalities for self-promotion.

Therefore, I will not join Hawaii politicians who’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars we need in Hawaii, and much of Hawaii’s limited political capital, for no reason other than to take cheap political shots at the Congressional majority, and President who control the budget.

It may elevate them to more prominence in national press. But at the cost of guaranteeing Hawaii will be excluded from participation in serious proceedings within the Congress.

And in addition to being foolish, it seems cruel that they claim to be doing it on behalf of Mexico’s children whose problems are the fault of Mexico’s corruption, instead of on behalf of Hawaii’s Children who could just as well use that help.

God only knows there are many times as many children world wide whose lives are ruined by corrupt governments than there are people in Hawaii to help them. Which I believe makes it cruel to make it Hawaii’s problem to solve other nations’ corruption.

In contrast, I know my first duty will be to help Hawaii which I can do. Not grandstand on worldwide issues that only help my political career.

More specifically, if Congress is ever ready to help Mexico’s children by fixing Mexico’s corrupt government I’ll stand on that line to the end.

But in the mean time, I will not spend Hawaii’s too little money and political capital on picking up the damage left by Mexico’s corrupt politicians when there are just as many children in Hawaii, and the rest of America, equally in need of that help, if not rescue..

If elected, what can you do to improve the lives of your constituents?

The short answer is I will do everything I can think of, or find, to do to make our lives better. And I’m very good at analysis and imagination.

A longer answer is that I believe nothing would more rapidly, and assuredly, improve the lives of people living in Hawaii, and the rest of American, than to reverse our horrible slide into sick, divisive, debilitating polarization.

And I believe a primary cause of polarization has been too many career politicians (some of whom have made politics a family business) turning what should be informative, honest, principled Public Debate into an ugly cross between foolish vaudevillian comedy, and cheap imitation of a Roman Circus blood sport.

But I believe that only survives as long as those who say they oppose it, turn around and claim they have no choice but to accept and join it. So I won’t.
Today’s sick political polarization thrives on lies. Something today’s Political self-Censorship (PC) police insist we call, and admire, as political Spin. Also on dishonor -- the willingness to break a promise, or to change what you say whenever the polls and pundits tell you it’s become bad optics. Something the PC police insist we call, and admire, as Walking Back.

And borrowing a great thought from a great man, I believe the answer is speaking truth to power.

Therefore, I believe that all that’s required to begin the end of America’s death spiral into terminal polarization are a few good women and men who are intelligent enough to know when something is proven true, proven false, or not yet proven either way.

Then have the courage to speak what is true clearly and understandably. And have backs, knees and spine made strong enough by experience to hold when the professional politicians, pundits and PC police descend like furriers of old screaming their complaints, insults and attacks. Because they need to silence truth they can’t afford the Public to understand.

Here’s an example by which I can be judged on that basis:

I support President Trump’s call for a time out on American being left wide open to travel from Islamic States for this reason.

--- America’s foundation rests on Western Civilization’s belief there must be a Separation of Church and State (back to “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s”)

--- The foundation of Islamic States rests on Islam’s belief that “There is no Law but God’s Law”. Which means State only exists to serve as Church’s enforcement arm.

--- Those are mutually exclusive First Principles.

Therefore, Americans need more time to learn about and consider what that difference means to America, before leaving America wide open to a belief system with which Americans have little honest education or experience.
My opinion would change if Islamic clerics with authority to speak for Islam are ever willing to openly say Islam accepts a Separation of Church and State. And reject their cry that “There is no Law but God’s law”. But for now, that’s impossible, because it is not true.
Or look at the dishonesty of those who deliberately confuse two different types of immigrants.

America’s Greatest Generation was built with immigrants, like my grandparents and their peers, who came legally to join in being Americans like their neighbors.

Today many immigrants who come to America come to colonize it on behalf of the cultures that drove them from the homes of their birth to begin with.

They are not the same. Therefore, Spinning the same word to refer to both types is dishonest. And dishonest Spin is a primary cause of ugly squabbling that drives Polarization’s divide ever wider.

The way to end that it to reject the Spin, Walking Back and Glittering Generalities, not rationalize joining in. So, I reject them, and won’t join in.

Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?

Yes, but what seems more important is what voters want to know about me. And what voters want me to know is important to them.

My first paying job was being trained to fight for what Americans said – through our horribly messy democratic system of governance – they wanted done. And mine was a blank check to get done whatever that was.

I wasn’t asked what I “felt” was important. Or for my take on how. Or even if I thought it would work.

That means I’m standing to serve Hawaii, not rule it. There are lines I won’t cross. But they are drawn by principles and values on which Western Civilization rests. Not by cheap politics. And not by ever so cleverly Spinning the public into doing what I feel is best for them.

Therefore, if voters get me though the primary, I pledge them an honest answer to honest questions. I never make a promise I can’t keep, which means if I make it, I will honor it no matter what the cost.

And getting me clear of the primary will give voters a forum in which they get to tell those who seek to represent them what voters want to know, and what’s important to them.

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