Editor’s note: For Hawvaii’s Nov. 4 general election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.

The following came from Victoria Mathieu, Republican candidate  for state representative for District 19. Democrat Bert Kobayashi, who did not respond to the questionnaire, and Libertarian Anthony Higa are also running.

District 19 includes Waiʻalae-KāhalaDiamond HeadKaimuki and Kapahulu.

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

Name: Victoria “Vickie” Mathieu

Office: House of Representatives, District 19

Party: Republican

Profession: Education administration; formerly elementary classroom teacher

Education: Double major at James Madison University: Political Science and Spanish; teaching licensure from Chaminade University of Honolulu

Age: 28 Community organizations: Current member, Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St Louis Heights Neighborhood Board; volunteers with Sustainable Coastlines  of Hawaii, a beach clean-up nonprofit

 

Victoria Mathier, candidate for state rep, district 19, 2014

Victoria Mathieu

1. Why are you running for the Hawaii Legislature? As a former teacher, a team leader in a small business, and as an advocate who connects people and our government, I want to strengthen our community by focusing on small businesses, schools, and transparency and availability in government. I deeply believe in creating the environment for small businesses to grow, improving our schools by empowering educators who are closest to our students, and creating a government that is open, accessible, and connected to people.

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?

It’s not possible to be satisfied with the current plans to pay for the state’s unfunded liabilities, since the state’s current trajectory would not have us paying them off.  With more than $10 billion still owed, we obviously need to do something different, while still keeping our promises on pension and health obligations for public workers. This is a complicated issue, and one that needs careful study.

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?  In our community, too many people face the challenges of homelessness. I believe homelessness is directly tied to the strength of our economy, which is why for Hawaii’s working class homeless, there are measures we can and should be taking. This includes making sure they are able to get jobs and keep them, keeping people who are on welfare or unemployment accountable, and helping local businesses to be able to hire more people.

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

When I was a child living on the mainland, I almost died multiple times because of a chemical sensitivity or allergy to pesticides, herbicides, etc.  Exposure would leave me gasping for breath, throat closing, body covered in hives.  As such, my mother had to work extremely hard to make sure that I was safe in our neighborhood. She began investigating more and more what the city was doing, and found that it was dumping dangerous chemicals into the waterways.  The public was not told about this, and some local politicians tried to cover it up, or feigned ignorance of the water treatment. She fought for years, going to City Council meetings, testifying, and meeting with numerous experts, politicians, and community members. For a lot of this, I was with her:  We didn’t have money to hire a babysitter, and my father was working, so I got to see the process firsthand. I was very saddened by the lack of clarity in government, and the lack of connection between the people and the politicians. And that’s something I’ve always believed should be changed. I am for labeling of GMOs and pesticides. People have a right to know what they are putting in their bodies and exposing themselves to.  If there is nothing wrong with doing it, then there should be nothing wrong with telling people that you’re doing it.

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?

Reduce taxes on food, reduce fuel taxes (currently fourth highest in the country), and in exchange for building permits, require developers to build truly affordable housing.

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?

I’m not opposed to liquefied natural gas, but need more information. Regarding the cost of the electrical distribution system, investigate whether HECO’s monopoly position is the cause.

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?

Throughout my campaign, I’ve advocated for our government to be more transparent and accessible to our neighbors. I strongly believe that we should make public records open and available. In this case, I would support moving public records to the internet, and otherwise trying to minimize costs to public records.

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

As a former elementary and middle school teacher, I deeply believe in the potential of our keiki. I’ve seen how our children can succeed when they are given the resources, and parents and teachers work together. I am not completely satisfied with the way our public school system is run: I believe educators should be more involved in the decision-making processes, and that parents should have more freedom to decide on what kind of education their children receive.

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?

We need to be intelligent with our new development. Creating the necessary infrastructure (especially for places such as Kaka’ako) is imperative to a project’s viability. If we do this with wisdom and foresight, we can mitigate many issues that would affect our environmental resources.

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

Voting! If you are not registered, stop reading this and go register. If you are registered but have moved since you registered, go change your address. To register for the first time, or change your address, use the Voter Registration form found at any library. You can also go to the City Clerk’s Office in Honolulu Hale. If you are registered, good job: But don’t forget to learn about candidates and issues, and vote! Please get involved in Hawaii’s government, otherwise it is going to make all your decisions for you, but without you.