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 48. Both Wooley and Pono Ching responded. Wooley’s questions and answers are reproduced below in full. Click on each topic listed below to read Civil Beat’s question and Wooley’s response. Read the questionnaire submitted by her opponent, Pono Chong here.

Preferred Candidate Name: Jessica Wooley

Senate/House District Number: House District 48

Date of Birth: 09/24/1968

Place of Birth/Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona

Current Profession/Employer: State Representative

Education/Alma Mater(s): Shasta High School, UC Santa Cruz, BA Economics, graduated with honors; UC Berkeley, Agricultural and Resource Economics, Master’s degree; Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley School of Law, JD.

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?

I do not support a GE tax increase and, as in the past, I will continue to fight against the GE tax and any taxes that unduly burden our working families. Instead, we must “right size” the state government, which means making sure money is spent wisely and doing more with less. ↩ 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 am opposed to compromising the environmental laws in place in order to expedite construction, especially when it’s done to promote more urban sprawl and housing developments. Oahu in particular, has experienced exponential increases in suburban sprawl at the expense of food grown locally on prime agriculture land. In addition, I believe efforts to provide full-scale exemptions from statutory requirements to push projects forward more quickly will lead to litigation, delay, and broken promises rather than jobs for our construction industry. ↩ 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 support existing law, which allows for social gambling. ↩ 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 believe that there are public accountability problems with the status quo at the state legislature and I support more openness, inclusiveness, and accountability for all legislators. The Sunshine Law should be held as a standard for the state legislature to consider. I believe it would mean lengthening the legislative session, which would require appropriate changes in the State Constitution and the State statutes. ↩ 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 each year is the passage of the State budget, which makes it possible for state government to continue to function and it impacts every Hawaii citizen. Without the passage of the budget bill, schools, courthouses and every state function would cease to exist.

The worst legislation exempts public agencies from appropriate public input and environmental review during the permitting process. The creation of a new government agency with a mission to develop public land (the Public Land Development Corporation) is one example. ↩ 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?

The issue I would champion at the Legislature is the protection of prime agriculture lands so that Hawaii can reduce its dependency on imports, which is now 90% of what is consumed by local people. Food security can never be achieved unless prime agriculture lands are preserved for agriculture. ↩ back to top

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