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Meyer, Hee bring experience to race for revamped District 23

By Gary T. Kubota


Former state Rep. Colleen Meyer is seeking election to the state Senate, challenging incumbent Clayton Hee in a reconfigured district that now includes Waialua, Hale­iwa, Sunset Beach and Pupukea.

Meyer, 73, who lost re-election to Demo­crat and environmental advocate Jessica Wooley in 2008, was regarded as a conservative Republican when she served in the state House from 1995 to 2008.

Meyer could benefit from a strong turnout by Mormons in Laie for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the presidential race. Romney is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Meyer, an independent businesswoman, could also do well in a portion of the newly constituted Senate District 23, which includes Haleiwa town, Sunset Beach and Pupukea, where there is a lot of business activity.

Meyer, a Catholic born in Honolulu and a graduate of Punahou School, said the country was founded on Christian beliefs, and she does not believe the government should force religious institutions to do things that are against their tenets.

She's worked as a real estate broker and property manager and is in favor of allowing the development of housing projects, such as Ho‘o­pili in Ewa and Koa Ridge in Mililani.

"Those projects will help to get a large number of construction workers back to work," she said.

Hee, 59, said he has actively opposed the development of Ho‘o­pili and Koa Ridge, planned on prime farmland, and wants to see Hawaii reduce its reliance on imported food.

"We in Hawaii import 85 percent of our food. That's a dire situation," he said. "It's inexcusable, inexplicable that this state cannot produce at least half of its food. At some point enough is enough."

Hee said the Sierra Club has supported him because he and the Sierra Club believe in "keeping the country country."

Meyer said she's against rail transit.

"I don't believe we have a population large enough to support the rail," she said.

Hee acknowledged that he supported the law authorizing the city to raise state taxes on Oahu for the rail project, but said he opposes the city's current plan for a "heavy steel on steel" system.

"It is too expensive and will not sustain itself economically," he said.

Both Meyer and Hee have sent their children to private schools.

Hee, a Kamehameha Schools graduate and former public school teacher, said he supports funding teacher pay raises and encourages the teachers and governor to collectively bargain for better teacher accountability.

Meyer, asked whether she'd support increasing the state Department of Education budget to restore teacher pay to levels before pay cuts, said she would first want to see what kind of agreement is worked out between the state executive branch and the teachers union.

She said the department is top-heavy with only 16,000 teachers out of 30,000 employees.

Both Meyer and Hee voted for an environmental study exemption for the Hawaii Superferry that was later determined to be unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.

Hee said he voted for the exemption with reservations and thinks a ferry system is a reasonable alternative for moving citizens between islands.

But Hee, chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor, agrees that the state Supreme Court was correct in striking down the exemption.

He said he's against transporting neighbor island natural resources, such as opihi, for consumption in Hono­lulu.

"The fact that (there are) no more opihi on Oahu is the fault of people on Oahu," he said.

"To go over and take the opihi on Maui is not pono."

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bender wrote:
Us residents of Haleiwa were blessed when we lost Donovan Dela Cruz as our Senator but were cursed when we were forced to choose between these two. I voted for neither. Disgusing choices.
on November 1,2012 | 05:56AM
allie wrote:
Hee has such a bad reputation though.
on November 1,2012 | 11:30AM
Mythman wrote:
Hard Choice: I think Clayton is destined for bigger and better things, maybe with respect to saving the ceded lands from being sold to the next wave of wealthy land speculators. Romney is going to be the next president and BYU is going to help lead Hawaii out of the mess Senator Inouye's one man rule over everything helped get us into over the past fifty years.
on November 1,2012 | 06:55AM
justin_thyme wrote:
Although I'm a staunch Democrat, I will hold my nose and vote for Colleen Meyer. Clayton Hee lost my support in the last legislative session when he pulled a sneaky, last-minute "bait and switch" on what was originally a good bill to stop dog fighting. He took advantage of his position as judiciary chair to remove the anti-dog-fighting parts of the bill and substitute them with language from more than 20 anti-pet-owner bills that had already been defeated. He did this late on a Friday afternoon before a 3-day holiday weekend, making the following Tuesday morning the deadline for submitting testimony. It was procedurally legal, but it was also SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, and an ABUSE OF POWER. Clayton Hee's inflated ego and his desire to wield power came before his duty of fairness to the people of Hawai'i. What he did wasn't pono. It cost him the support of thousands of voters, me included.
on November 1,2012 | 08:55AM
allie wrote:
Hee is a total shibai. You made the right choice
on November 1,2012 | 11:30AM
false wrote:
Hee will tell it like it is and many people don't like that because he speaks the truth. He is a good Senator.
on November 1,2012 | 11:41AM
DAGR81 wrote:
Hee takes care of himself, his family and his friends firs and as an afterthought the people of Hawaii. The only thing positive about his actions is its consistency.
on November 1,2012 | 12:57PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Hee as become more realistic about what can be accomplished to save agricultural lands and to keep the country, country. Meyer lost my respect when I saw her actions as a quasi judicial type of administrative judge as a Lingle appointee on the State Merit Appeals Board. Despite the fact the the Hawaii Supreme Court said in the Malcolm Sussel case that administrative judges like her must be immune from politics and removed Woody Miyagi from the City's Civil Service Commission, the City equivalent to the State Merit Appeals Board, because Miyagi was tied to Mayor Fasi and was toeing Fasi's line in the hearing, Meyer did the same thing as Miyagi did, would not listen to both points of view and blindly voted Lingle's way.
on November 1,2012 | 09:56AM
false wrote:
Hee is against transporting natural resources from the other islands to Oahu. Hee is against my shipping of my Agricultural crops to Oahu but he says he is for food sustainability. Hee is as crooked as a kapakahi octopus.
on November 1,2012 | 02:58PM
Kapakahi wrote:
This constant Republican talking point, echoed by Colleen Meyer here, in simple-minded:

She said the department is top-heavy with only 16,000 teachers out of 30,000 employees.

How can someone say such a thing and pretend they know ANYTHING useful about our schools? In addition to teachers, each school has custodians, counselors, cafeteria workers, a principal and vice-principal, clerical staff, (hopefully) counselers, a librarian. And the DOE administration has staff as well, and there are specialists who travel from school to school.

How does Ms. Meyers THINK a school functions without non-teachers there to keep the schools running? Or perhaps she thinks the teachers should take on all these other functions, detracting further from time devoted to teaching?

It is so easy for ignorant people to throw up simplistic criticisms of the school system without taking time to think through what they are saying. Meyers use of this thoughtless Republican talking point demonstrates how truly ignorant she is of the challenges facing our schools.

on November 2,2012 | 09:32AM
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