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 House of Representatives District 11. Four out of five candidates responded, including Colin Hanlon. The questions and answers are reproduced below in full. Read responses by his competitors, Netra Halperin, Kaniela Ing, and George Fontaine. Joseph Bertram III did not turn in a response. Click on each topic listed below to read Civil Beat’s question and Hanlon’s response.

Preferred Candidate Name: Colin Hanlon

Senate/House District Number: House District 11

Date of Birth: 05/26/1968

Place of Birth/Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts

Current Profession/Employer: Non-Profit Director, Boys & Girls Club of Maui

Education/Alma Mater(s): Plymouth State College, New Hampshire

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?

Yes I would. I do not believe that a ‘cuts-only’ approach is the right solution to Hawaii’s budget challenges. We need to ensure that critical public services are fully funded. We cannot expect to succeed if we continue making cuts to education, infrastructure, and public safety. ↩ 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 believe that the environmental impact study is a critical step in the process of developing our communities. It that allows the working families who live in these neighborhoods to make their voices heard. I would oppose legislation that seeks to weaken this important protection. ↩ 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?

I am against legalizing gambling in Hawai’i. Legalized gambling has been shown to have a multitude of negative effects in communities where it has been instituted, including increased crime and poverty rates. As a supporter of working families, I would oppose legalizing an institution that hits them the hardest. ↩ 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?

While the Sunshine Law is important in the context of public bodies that meet year-round, such as county councils, boards, and commissions, it can create problems for legislative bodies. As our state legislature is only in session for three months out of the year, each committee has a limited amount of time in which to fulfill its duties. I believe that it is critical that our legislators be provided with the time required to do their jobs. ↩ back to top

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

The best legislation I have seen in recent years is undoubtedly SB 232, the Civil Unions bill passed in 2011. I firmly believe that all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, or orientation, are entitled to the same rights. While Civil Unions are not the same as having equal rights under the law, I believe SB 232 was an important step on the road to equality.

The legislation that I disagree with the most is actually our budget. We cannot grow as a community if we continue to pass budgets that fail to fully fund our public education system. South Maui has needed a high school for the last fifteen years, and while Senator Baker has worked diligently to accomplish this goal, our latest budget actually reduced the allocated funding for this project. This cannot continue. South Maui deserves the same level of investment in education as the rest of the state. ↩ 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?

I have dedicated my professional career to youth development, and as a part of that I have had ample opportunity to work directly with many of the schools here in Maui. I have seen time and time again how our lack of commitment to providing quality public education hurts the children of our community. We need to ensure that our public schools are equipped to provide every child with the tools they need in order to achieve success. If elected, I would focus my time in office on ensuring that our public education system gets all the resources it needs in order to be successful. ↩ back to top