Editor’s Note: In July 2012, Civil Beat sent six questions to each of the candidates registered to run in the Aug. 11 primary for Hawaii State Representative District 3. All four responded, including Brittany Smart. The questions and answers are reproduced below in full. Read responses by Richard Onishi, Marlene Hapai, and Fred Fogel to see how Smart’s positions compare to those of her competitors. Click on each topic listed below to read Civil Beat’s question and Smart’s response.

Preferred Candidate Name: Brittany Smart

Senate/House District Number: House District 3

Date of Birth: 02/25/2983

Place of Birth/Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Current Profession/Employer: Councilmember, County of Hawaii

Education/Alma Mater(s): University of Hawaii at Hilo

1. With the exception for Honolulu rail, the state has not raised the general excise tax in decades. Would you consider increasing the GET to help the state meet its budget demands?

At this time it is not my intention to introduce or support any proposal to increase the GET, but should any be brought forward I would give fair consideration to each and make a decision based on their merits. ↩ back to top

2. Lawmakers proposed relaxing environmental regulatory review to spur development and job growth in the 2012 session, and the issue is expected to resurface next year. Where do you stand?

I do not support environmental regulatory review exemptions. ↩ back to top

3. Gambling — are you for it or against it? If not, why not? If so, what type of gambling and with what kind of restrictions?

Undecided. However, I would be most open to supporting a lottery program that would directly benefit education, infrastructure, or social services, in addition to, not replacing, current levels of funding. ↩ back to top

4. The Sunshine Law is a hallmark of an open democracy accountable to its citizens. Yet, the Legislature exempts itself from this requirement. Do you support more transparency in government operations, or are there legitimate reasons to conduct some of the people’s business behind closed doors?

I support increased government transparency and it will be a priority in my term. I strongly believe that if we are a government of the people, by the people, for the people, we must ensure we are including the people. ↩ back to top

5. What is the best legislation — and worst legislation — that the Legislature has approved in recent years? Please explain.

It is difficult to know all of the legislation that has passed each session, but below are ones that received media attention that I believe are important.

Civil Unions – I support equality for all Americans. While this is not marriage equality for all at this point, it is an important step in the right direction.
Justice Reinvenstment – I support this initiative and look forward to further discussions to improve our current prison system to a more fair and financially stable institution.

Interisland cable – While I understand the need for our entire state to increase energy independence, I am not convinced this cable is the right solution. The high cost is one issue. High neighbor island opposition is another. Before power is shipped to Oahu from other islands, Honolulu must take a more drastic and proactive steps to decrease and balance energy usage while diversifying energy sources.
Environmental exemptions – I do not support environmental exemptions to fast track projects. This is the process that addresses concerns and mitigation measures while allowing the public a chance for review, which is extremely important in my opinion. ↩ back to top

6. What is an issue that you would champion at the Legislature — one that perhaps has not received much attention, or an issue that is important to your district?

There are a number of issues I will work on related to agriculture, resource management, food and energy sustainability, and education that I would like to continue working on. However, my priority will be to work on increased government access and transparency. I believe we are not using electronic media communication tools to the best of our capabilities, and that needs to change. Our current system is not very user friendly and makes it hard to follow what is happening at the capitol. I have been working on similar initiatives at the County level and look forward to taking those efforts up to the State level. ↩ back to top