Name on ballot:
Marilyn B. Lee
State House – District 36
Community volunteer and retired registered nurse
Previous job history:
United States Navy Nurse, retired as full Lt.
Staff Nurse, Holy Cross Hospital, Washington DC
Foreign Service Nurse for American Institute in Taiwan
Registered Nurse at Wahiawa General Hospital for 25 years
Nurse Manager, Medical, Surgical
Nurse Manager, Home Health Agency
Previous elected office, if any:
16 years as Hawaii State Representative
Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.
I believe I have the strongest qualifications in my race to represent the people of Hawaii. I have 16 years of legislative experience, 40 years of service to the community, as well as 40 years of residency in the district. I know the history, ongoing problems of my District, and the Legislative history of many of the issues being debated today. I served during the 2008-2009 downturn as Vice Chair of House Finance and am well aware of the ongoing financial problems the state is facing.
As a registered Nurse, I have hands on experience in health care and the workings of hospitals, which is sorely needed in the Covid-19 era.
I am active is our public schools and have served on the School Community Council at Mililani High School for the past 8 years.
I serve on the Board of Directors of a Central Oahu Homeless Nonprofit and have participated in the last four Point in Time Counts of the homeless.
I understand very well how tough the next few years will be.
What will be your top priority if elected?
No answer submitted
As Hawaii faces the COVID-19 pandemic, what more can be done to protect residents’ health?
The Community needs to be educated re: preventive measures, and to adhere to the recommendations of our Health Department, the CDC and Local officials. Our homeless population needs to be removed from the streets and placed in shelters or temporary housing as they could become a vector for carrying the disease. The hospitals need to be prepared with adequate supplies of Personal Protective Equipment, Ventilators, and more Negative Pressure Rooms need to be provided in our emergency rooms. We must assure residents it is safe to use the ERs when needed even though Covid-19 patients are there, and that procedures will be followed. Long Term care facilities demand special attention as the environment there is more likely to encourage the spread of Covid-19. Each citizen must be encouraged to avoid crowds and locations where others may not be compliant to hygiene. Schools need to open safely and testing must be available where needed. The number of tourists coming through the airports should be minimized by safety checks and increased landing fees.
What more can be done to help residents who have been economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
A safe place to live is the most important stabilizing factor for families and individuals in these troubling times. Subsidizing rents and mortgage payments either by the State or Federal government for a period of time will help. Encouraging banks and lenders to set up payment plans may ease the urgency of payment. The unemployment web site and procedure should be updated and improved ASAP so the unemployment claims are satisfied promptly. Predictions are that homelessness may increase up to 40% because of the downturn. As a member of a nonprofit homeless organization, I know the nonprofits need help to stay alive and do the work of placing families in need and assisting people to apply for assistance. The nonprofits are struggling and need help to continue doing their important work. All of us need to help by contributing to food banks and food drives on an individual basis.
Should public worker furloughs, pay cuts or downsizing be used to help the state deal with lower tax revenues and higher expenses during the pandemic? Why or why not?
During the last downturn, furloughs affecting the University and the public schools were disastrous. We should not do furloughs in education as keeping the children in school is of paramount concern as they have already lost one whole quarter and most of the summer. The University is an economic engine for the state and can be a catalyst for recovery by retraining of those who have lost jobs and working in the potential areas of growth like Aerospace and Vaccine development. Some layoffs and pay cuts may be necessary but each action should be considered carefully and a plan made to help those affected.
Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy has suffered greatly due to the pandemic. If elected, what would you propose to support and diversify the state’s economy?
We have talked about diversification for years, but little was accomplished. Now we will be forced to do it. I propose the following:
1. Retraining of tourism workers in areas like health care, agriculture, and contact tracing.
2. Encouraging our aerospace industry (now in its infancy at UH).
3. Supporting the work of UH and the Medical School on vaccine research and data collection.
4. Encouraging light manufacturing of Personal Protective Equipment and ventilators
5. Supporting the development of sustainable crops like breadfruit (ulu) which is also an area where the University can be a major player.
6. Encouraging the Arts which are unique to Hawaii.
Do you support reforms to policing in Hawaii? If yes, please explain what reforms you support.
I support the recent bill passed by the legislature to disclose significant disciplinary action taken against police. However, what is needed to reform the HPD is more in the line of retraining and education. Police work is complex and stressful. It needs support as well as criticism. In my community, we see the police at our Neighborhood Board meetings as well as seeing them around our community where many live. I have been thankful for their work many times.
Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?
I support the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope because it will become a huge economic driver for Hawaii Island and the State. It will give us national recognition as a place where science is respected and has the potential for making many important scientific discoveries.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
Yes. I am proud to be a person who has had many varied experiences and lived through historical events in our State and our world. I have survived the loss of my spouse of 45 years and am healthy, alert, and a contributing member of my community. I have four children and nine grandchildren who live on the continent. We communicate often on Zoom during these times. I live alone and am competent to manage my affairs, my home and my health. I take piano lessons and voice lessons and raise butterflies. I am an avid gardener.
If elected, I will give full time to the job and to my community.
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to this survey.
View more candidate questionnaires or see more 2020 Hawaii elections coverage.