Laura H. Thielen
Phone: (808) 285-4575
Political Office/Position Sought: State Senate
Senate/Representative District: District 25
Are you an incumbent? Yes
Campaign contact name, phone number, and e-mail address:
Myself, information above
1. Why are you running for office?
I ran in 2012 because I disagreed with the legislature’s creation of the PLDC to raise money through unregulated development of state land, and the near passage of a law allowing the same for certain private lands. Over the past four years I helped repeal the PLDC and block similar efforts. But many legislators still support unregulated development, and I feel voices like mine are necessary to ensure the legislature respects our natural and cultural resources.
2. What are your views about Hawaiian self-governance? In your capacity as a legislator, what action, if any, would you advocate in support of Hawaiian self- governance?
I support self-governance. At this point I’m not sure what the state legislature can do, given recent court decisions. But I am open to the discussion.
3. When it comes to Native Hawaiian issues, what do you perceive your role as a legislator to be? What ways can you, if elected, support Native Hawaiian concerns through your legislative abilities? If elected, describe specific Native Hawaiian bill ideas that you would be willing to propose or support for the advancement of Native Hawaiians.
A legislator’s role is to make sure our laws and government actions uphold our constitutional obligations, including traditional and cultural practices and access to the resources necessary for such practices. Our role is also to make sure new laws do not undermine the scope and intent behind comprehensive legislation, such as the laws protecting cultural and historic sites.
Legislators also have an obligation to ensure our citizens have fair and equal opportunities and treatment relating to state programs. We’ve seen native Hawaiian students who did not do well under the traditional DOE system, flourish when they had access to culturally-based education opportunities in many of our public charter and immersion schools. Accordingly, we need to stop treating charter schools as “lesser” public schools, and provide equitable funding and support for them, particularly for facilities.
Legislators should also ensure laws are flexible enough to support not just western practices, but also traditional practices. We recently legalized a burial tradition for Hawaiian practitioners. I’ve been trying to pass a law that recognizes the hanai relationship to permit visitation when a child is taken away from a traditional caregiver.