Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 9 primary, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.

The following came from Kelly Valenzuela, Republican candidate for state representative for District 6. Other candidates include Republican Roy Ebert and Democrats Kalei Akaka and Nicole Lowen.

District 6 covers North KonaHolualoaKalaoa and Honokohau on the Big Island.

Go to Civil Beat’s Elections Guide for general information, and check out other candidates on the Primary Election Ballot.

Name: Kelly Valenzuela

Office: State House District 6

Party: Republican

Profession: Housewife

Education: Kaiser/Punahou

Age: 54

Community organizations: Kealakehe Neighborhood Watch; AYSO; Family Violence Advisory Commission; Ironman Triathlon; Kona Marathon

Kelly Valenzuela

Kelly Valenzuela

1. Why are you running for the Hawaii Legislature?

I believe that it is time to restore honesty,integrity and respect back into our society. When I am walking and talking to individual people many of them feel an un easiness about where we are as a society. We need to restore trust in our government leaders, and show the people that they are really being heard, and taking to heart what the people feel are important issues.

2. Are you satisfied with the current plans to pay for the state’s unfunded liabilities? If not, how would you propose to meet pension and health obligations for public workers?

Make some type of cutbacks. When you are on a budget and don’t have the money to spend you must cut back on expenses. We need to analyze where we have unnecessary spending and make those cuts. And I don’t mean cutting services such as mental health, I am taking about ridiculous salaries, or possible raises that we cannot afford at this time.

3. Local officials and advocates have worked to address homelessness for years, yet the crisis is growing. What proposals do you have for this complicated issue?

I believe that we have to enforce stricter laws in regards with drunkenness, loitering, etc. And also build “one stop” shop  buildings that would have all the service needs that our homeless population needs. In these buildings we would have living accommodations similar to studio apartments, mental health services, doctors, dentists, drug and alcohol rehab clinics. They would have to remain sober and clean to live in these buildings. We could also have adult education and trade schools for individuals that need job skills. People on the streets are already receiving some of these services but this way they are required to get on with their life in a much more positive manner. I believe we have to have rules and regulations for a society to flow in a positive way.We should also have laws in place that require people who decide to move here that before they can participate in services they would have to be a Hawaii resident with a minimum of six months. 

4. Where do you stand on labeling genetically engineered food and pesticide regulation? Are these public safety issues, or are the dangers exaggerated? 

I believe the federal government should take this lead and mandate. People have a right to know in regards to these issues.

5. Hawaii’s cost of living is the highest in the country by many indicators. What can really be done to make things like housing, food and transportation less expensive? 

We have to look to lowering our electric bills, and the cost of food. We could ask for an exemption in regards to the Jones Act to keep food costs down and help our agriculture community with farming more food here in Hawaii.

6. Would you support using liquified natural gas as part of the state’s energy sources? And how can we improve the electrical distribution system so more renewable energy can be utilized to bring costs down? 

Yes. Put pressure on the PUC to put pressure on HELCO.

7. Hawaii’s public records law mandates that public records be made available whenever possible. Yet many citizens are unable to afford the costs that state and local government agencies impose. Would you support eliminating search and redaction charges and making records free to the  public except for basic copying costs? 


8. Are you satisfied with the way Hawaii’s public school system is run? How can it be run better? 

I believe we should have local school boards to help support our teachers.

9. There is a desire to grow the economy through new development yet also a need to protect our limited environmental resources. How would you balance these competing interests? 

Development brings more jobs and jobs bring in more money to our families in our community. I would, however, expect them to also give back to our community in the form of parks, money to our schools, senior centers and true affordable housing.

10. What other important issue would you like to discuss here?

I am very concerned about the federal government overstepping into our county in regards to the Keauhou Aquifer. If allowed it will put all development and future projects at a standstill for years.