Editor’s Note: House Speaker Calvin Say sent this email to Civil Beat reporter Michael Levine in response to his “No Conflict?” series. He gave Civil Beat permission to publish the email.

Dear Mike:

Your series of Civil Beat articles on conflicts of interest in the Legislature were well-researched, comprehensive, and thought-provoking.

I believe that all legislators want to do the right thing when conducting legislative business. All legislators use good faith in voting on issues, basing their votes on the public good rather than personal benefit.

I also believe that a part-time legislature is the best form of government for our State. A part-time legislature enables persons to serve as legislators while also holding other jobs. The diverse perspectives that result, in my view, are necessary for a well-rounded legislature comprised of legislators with real-life experiences and practical skills.

As long as Hawaii has a part-time legislature, potential conflict of interest situations will be unavoidable. This detriment, however, will be mitigated by proper public disclosure of legislators’ votes and financial interests. A legislator’s constituents will have the final say on whether the legislator deserves re-election.

In closing, I would like to reiterate my view that a legislator is elected to represent the legislator’s constituents, and that this “representation” is effectuated by voting on the issues. Thus, the right of a legislator to vote should not be restricted, except under extraordinary circumstances.


Calvin K.Y. Say

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