- Name: CYNTHIA THIELEN
- Current job: LEGISLATOR; Land use & Environmental Attorney (retired)
- Residence: How long you’ve lived in the district: 43 years
- Background: What qualifies you for the position? What else have you run for? Have you been in public office before and if so, what position? I have served in the Hawaii House of Representatives since 1990 in various leadership roles, and presently am Assistant Republican Leader. I am Ranking Member on the Judiciary, Water, Land and Ocean Resources, Housing & Energy and Environmental Protection Committees, and also serve on the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee. Every year, measures I have introduced or co-sponsored have passed. I focus on relief for small businesses, family and education issues, and creation of jobs in the emerging renewable energy industry.
- Major issues: What are the biggest issue in your district/state and your proposed solutions? The economy and furlough Fridays. Reduce taxes and “right-size” government. Stop furlough Fridays from reoccurring, by mandating a base-line number of school days/hours, which we did in this last Legislative Session.
- Budget philosophy: What is your budget philosophy? Do you foresee increases in revenue through tax hikes and fees or do you believe in cutting spending? I oppose increasing taxes, as this will keep Hawaii in a recession. Just as families do with their budgets, I believe government should and must cut spending. We can stimulate economic growth, which I discuss below.
- Taxes and fees: Do you believe Hawaii’s taxes should be lowered or increased? If you do plan to raise taxes and fees, which specific taxes or fees would you increase? Or would you sign a pledge that says you will not raise taxes? Lower taxes and see the resulting improvement in our economy. Those two are linked.
- Rail: If the city has difficulty raising enough revenue for the rail, would you support state tax support for the rail project? No.
- Legalized Gambling: Do you believe gambling should be legalized in Hawaii in any form and if so, in what form? I do not support gambling in Hawaii. Gambling casinos “cannibalize” small businesses and bring other social ills.
- Public Education: What are your plans to support the public education system while ensuring accountability and results for our students? Do you support an appointed or elected school board? We have tried an elected school board for years, but public education has not improved or received the leadership it needs. I support an appointed school board, in which the members will be held accountable by the Governor, and replaced if necessary to create an effective and respected school board.
- Economic Growth: What are your plans to promote long-term economic growth for Hawaii? I have sponsored legislation to create new jobs through using our natural energy sources to power our Islands. Instead of shipping Seven Billion (yes, BILLION) Dollars a year out of state to buy foreign oil, we can and must keep much of that money here through developing a renewable energy industry. Clean, green new jobs keep money in the economy and provide work for Hawaii’s residents.
- Crime: What is your solution to making Oahu a safer place to live and visit? Adequately fund law enforcement.
- Second Amendment: Would you support concealed carry or more freedom for law abiding firearms owners, do you feel the current laws should remain in place, or do you believe stricter gun laws should be in place? I support the present laws.
- Homeless: What is your solution to homelessness? The City must step up and use matching federal funds to create homeless shelters. These shelters must have social service providers, who can work to move people back into the mainstream.
- Compact with Micronesia: Micronesians are able to freely move to Hawaii, which they are doing in large numbers to take advantage of the public education system, medical services and other government benefits. But the governor and other public officials say they are taxing Hawaii’s resources and costing the state more than $100 million a year. This is a federal decision, but would you share your view on whether the Compact with Micronesia should remain in place, should there be some parameters put on the Compact or do you have other solutions? Since this is a federal decision, I have not attended informational briefings on this issue and need more information.
- Akaka Bill: What is your position on the Akaka Bill? Do you believe it will unite or divide Hawaii? What is your vision for how the Akaka Bill will change Hawaii? There is a division in the Hawaiian community, and I would first like to see those differences worked out.
- Jones Act: Opponents of the federal Jones Act say it increases the cost of living in Hawaii through a shipping duopoly while supporters say it is needed to ensure port security and American jobs. While this is a federal decision, would you share your view on whether you support an exemption for Hawaii from the Jones Act or should it remain in place? In the event of a devastating hurricane or tsunami, Hawaii will need an exemption from the Jones Act. That mechanism should be put in place now.
- Endorsements you would like to list: BUILD-PAC Hawaii, the political action committee of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii; Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter, University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, others pending.
- Any additional comments: I have co-sponsored bills to reduce the tax burden on Hawaii’s Seniors and working families, and worked vigorously to prevent an increase in the General Excise Tax. Small businesses, the backbone of our economy, need tax relief and a government that helps them thrive, and I will continue to advocate for them.
During my annual Legislative Road Show at local schools, I talked with students about ending furlough Fridays and mandating instructional days/hours in law. I strongly support increasing those instructional days to put us on a par with states ranked at the top in public education.
Thank you, Hawaii Reporter, for doing this Questionnaire.
Phone: (808) 261-5608
Mail: P.O. Box 996, Kailua, HI 96734
Web site address: www.cynthiathielen.com