State Sen. Laura Thielen on Thursday told constituents that she will not seek another term of office in 2020.
“While I’ve been grateful for the privilege of being your State Senator for seven years, I’ve decided not to run for re-election next year,” she said.
Thielen has represented District 25 — Kailua, Lanikai, Enchanted Lake, Keolu Hills, Maunawili, Waimanalo, Hawaii Kai and Portlock — since 2013.
She was chair of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources from 2007 to 2010 under Republican Gov. Linda Lingle.
She says that she previously managed a law office, set up a statewide hotline at Legal Aid, ran a business writing grants and organizing projects for nonprofits, headed the state Office of Planning and served as Honolulu’s first Agricultural Liaison.
Thielen did not say exactly what she would do next but indicated that she intends to remain active and engaged.
Comparing her previous work with her legislative job, she said, “I loved creating programs, implementing projects, figuring out how to improve operation,” she said.
“Work in the legislative branch of government — state, Congress, or city council — is important, but it’s not the same. You make laws saying what can, or cannot, be done. You pass budgets saying what gets, or doesn’t get, funding. You nag government agencies to do, or not do, certain things. But you don’t get to do the things.”
She added: “I miss the doing. So, I’m going to end my time as a legislator, and get back to the doing.”
Thielen, a Democrat, is encouraging candidates to seek her office.
“We need fresh ideas and dedicated community members to improve our state’s future,” she said.
Thielen’s mother, Republican state Rep. Cynthia Thielen, announced last month that she too would not run for re-election.
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