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 43. Four out of six candidates responded, including Cynthia Rezentes. The questions and answers are reproduced below in full. Read responses by her competitors, Hanalei Aipoalani, Glenn Butler, and Tercia Ku. Karen Awana and Leslie Gomes-McKeague did not send in their questionnaires. Click on each topic listed below to read Civil Beat’s question and Rezentes’ response.

Preferred Candidate Name: Cynthia K. L. Rezentes

Senate/House District Number: House District 43

Date of Birth: 04/09/1952

Place of Birth/Hometown: Honolulu, Wai’anae

Current Profession/Employer: N/A

Education/Alma Mater(s): Wai’anae HS, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA (BS Electrical Engineering), University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (MS Electrical Engineering)

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 believe that the State needs to exhaust all other options before entertaining a move to increase the GET, especially considering that it is a multiplicative “tax” and not just a on-time effect sales tax. ↩ 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?

Any modifications to current environmental regulatory laws should be considered very cautiously before being amended. If there are specific current projects or special zones which could benefit from some specific amendments to environmental laws currently in place, they should be clearly identified so that everyone can understand the depth and scope of potential impacts of any proposed amendment. There should not be a carte blanche moratorium on environmental regulations for periods of time without further specificity. ↩ 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 am not generally in favor of gambling. I have lived in areas where lotteries or more formal gambling is allowed and have seen some negative impacts of gambling. While I understand that it is everyone’s responsibility to manage their gambling excursions, for a number of people it is an addiction and for others a way to prey upon other members of society. Of all the forms of gambling I have observed first hand, a lottery appears to be the least impactful in general BUT the question is whether the monies would be used for specific government causes or just go into the general fund to be used for balancing the budget and give a free pass to real management of our state funds. ↩ 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?

In general, I support the need for all State operations to be transparent to the people of Hawai`i, but I can see where there may be occasions where some of the peoples’ business would need to be managed behind closed doors, e.g. information provided by the federal government on national security items, or other issues that may need to be closely managed by other legal mandate. ↩ back to top

5. What is the best legislation — and worst legislation — that the Legislature has approved in recent years? Please explain.

While there have been many good legislative actions over the recent years, one that immediately comes to mind is the Civil Unions Law ensuring equality for everyone in a committed relationship. Civil Rights have long been touted but enabling legislation sometimes needs to be done to guarantee those rights are respected by all. While perhaps not the worst legislation, one that has caused me some concern is the establishment of the Public Land Development Corporation (based upon the Agribusiness Development Corporation model). This new organization continues to leave open too many questions regarding how it may be used or implemented in using State lands and how. ↩ 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?

While there are a number of personal items I would like to champion, there are three very high priority items for our district, education, traffic and job growth. All of these contribute significantly to the current impacts to the way of life for the average family in the district such that it promotes extreme hardships, e.g. future educational opportunities for economic growth and the amount of time spent away from the family due to commute times. ↩ back to top