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 Senate District 4. Lorraine Inouye was the only one who responded. Kelly Greenwell and Alice Solomon did not. The questions and answers are reproduced below in full. Click on each topic listed below to read Civil Beat’s question and Inouye’s response.

Preferred Candidate Name: Lorraine Rodero Inouye

Senate/House District Number: Senate District 4

Date of Birth: 06/22/1940

Place of Birth/Hometown: Hilo, Hawaii

Current Profession/Employer: President/Owner – Aloha Blooms, Inc. – A flower farm

Education/Alma Mater(s): Hilo High School, 1958; Certificate, Management and Supervision – Hawaii Employers Council; Certificate, Dale Carnegie

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?

Before I consider raising the GET, I will ask for a review of a study done years past or some recommendations that the state consider looking at a type of SALES TAX. I understand that the sales tax would generate more monies. We would not know which structure is best but it is something we should consider.

The GET is a regressive tax and hurts businesses.

This review will probably take more than a year for the legislature and my preference is to allow discussions with professionals such as CPA’S, THE TAX FOUNDATION (Lowell Kalapa), UH, and others including out of state professionals with expertise in tax policies. ↩ 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 circumventing the environmental laws to spur development. We have gone through many other depressed years, in the ‘70’s the 80’s and the 90’s, and these past years is no exception. The economy is getting a little better and there are other means that the state and counties can do to allow any type of development to occur such as cutting back some review time at agencies. We need to assure any development that will impact communities, that those areas support changes. ↩ 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?


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 served as a county council member on Hawaii Island and the law applied to us. I had no problem abiding by the rules/law.

The legislature, I believe, can still conduct business and have the authority, like other government boards and commission, to go into EXECUTIVE SESSIONS, when necessary.

I do support more transparency in government operations. ↩ 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 is the law/act that mandated Hawaii to reduce the dependence of imported foreign oil. It is the RENEWABLE ENERGY PORTFOLIO.

The worst are the laws created this year and last when developments may circumvent the environmental laws including allowing for fast tracking developments – geothermal explorations/drilling, etc. ↩ 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?

One of my first legislation is to re-organize the make-up of the REAPPORTIONMENT COMMISSION. This would take effect the next census year for redistricting – 2020.

The make-up will be two persons from Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai, Oahu, each, with the chair to be appointed by those members including the courts (like it’s allowed now).

This last commission had only one member of a neighbor island and that’s political.

In the Senate District 4 – Potable Water is an issue in Waimea and Kawaihae. This is a priority for me.

There are good water sources but the infrastructure and deliverance needs special attention. ↩ back to top