comscore 2022 Election: Cheryl Rzonca | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Election

2022 Election: Cheryl Rzonca

  • Cheryl Rzonca
Name on ballot:

Cheryl Rzonca

Running for:

State Senate – District 14

Political party:

Republican

Campaign website:

cherylforsenate14.com

Current occupation:

Operations Manager, behavioral healthcare practice

Age:

58

Previous job history:

TV station manager for a local station of a worldwide network 19+ years, District manager Fortune 500 company, City & County of Honolulu Parks & Recreation various positions, owner of 2 local businesses.

Previous elected office, if any:

No answer submitted

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

Born and raised in Hawaii, and my family for generations, this is my home and its people are my ohana. I am dedicated to its preservation and sustainability especially for future generations. As a results-oriented Executive Management professional for over 35 years, and having served, and still serve, on a number of non-profit boards, I have established extensive relationships in the islands, U.S., as well as internationally. As a homeowner and business leader, I am fiscally responsible, resourceful, honest, dependable, and organized. My strengths are in building from the ground up; management, motivating, networking, listening and advocating for my constituents, working from a grassroots level. I’m a problem solver, quick learner, innovative and resourceful. I thrive on mentoring and empowering people to excel in their calling. I feel my vast experience, community involvement, work ethic, diligence, and dedication to the people in my district as well as Hawaii enables me to be a representative for the people of Hawaii.

What is the most pressing issue facing residents in your district and how would you address the problem?

The biggest issue facing my district is School transparency and parental rights. Parents should have a say on what is being taught to their children and all curriculum should be easily accessible for public review. I would advocate for a restructuring of the BOE with the possibility of having an elected school board instead of an appointed one.

Rising inflation has significantly worsened Hawaii’s already high cost of living. What can be done at the state level to help Hawaii residents cope with high consumer prices?

Tax burdens need to be eased. For starters, a temporary waiver of the gas tax would help; removing the state general excise tax from food and medicine/medical care; property tax rates need to be revisited. We need to create a more business friendly environment, which now includes more home based businesses. The burden of funding the rail needs to be relieved.

Hawaii’s rising gasoline prices are among the highest in the nation. Should Hawaii lower or temporarily suspend state taxes on gasoline to help ease the pain at the pump?

I believe Hawaii should temporarily suspend the state taxes on gas.

Do you support or oppose efforts to slow or limit the number of tourists to Hawaii? Please explain.

I do not support efforts to slow or limit tourists coming to the islands. We cannot afford the loss of income to the state, especially right now, and we do not have the infrastructure to oversee such measures. Not to mention for US citizens, it is against our Constitutional right to restrict travel between states. I would, however, support more oversight and protections for those places tourists visit in our local communities such as sacred sites, private property, natural resources, nature preserves, etc.

Can Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy be diversified, and, if so, what can state government do to support the effort?


We definitely need to diversify our local economy. We need to look at sustainable living and potential exports. Right now, the outdated 100+ year old Jones Act needs to be reformed. It is costing us jobs as well as hurting our local economy. Supporting small business should be part of the plan. We need to look at the tax and regulation burdens put on our small businesses and make some changes to allow them to thrive.

What is your plan to increase affordable housing in Hawaii, and to help the counties deal with homelessness?

My plan would be to look at various solutions other very capable organizations have proposed. Many have done extensive research on this issue and have some well though-out ideas. I believe that government regulations, permitting and costs on residential builds needs to be re-examined. High property tax rates play a roll in this also. The government needs to work together with Hawaiian Homelands to immediately place Hawaiians in housing owed to them which would then free up more housing for the general population. As for affordable, that is not an easy fix since many other factors affect prices. Limiting housing purchases by foreign entities and large out-of-state companies would be a start.

What would you propose to help protect Hawaii residents’ health during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic?

I would allow other successful protocals to be made available so people and doctors have a wider choice of treatments. Promoting healthy habits such as diet and exercise would be basic and should always be part of the solution. Being in the mental health field, I saw how mandates and forced vaccinations promoted fear and caused irreparable damage these last 2+ years. The suicide rate skyrocketed. It has affected our childrens’ growth and development and caused division within families. This did not have to happen. The repercussions from the measures taken outweighed the benefits, if any.

Hawaii isn’t likely to see a repeat of this year’s $2 billion revenue surplus which allowed higher-than-normal spending on state programs and projects. If elected, what will your top spending priorities be?

Actually my priority would be to have audits done of all state depts while keeping spending to a minimum until expenses can be examined and determined necessary or not. Much of the Cares Act funding was spent on unnecessary items such as vehicles for HPD that sit unused, refrigerated containers that were never used, masks that have been determined caused more harm than good and are now littered all over our streets and streams. I believe if managed responsibly, we will have the revenue needed to fund necessary programs and projects.

What, if anything, should state government do in response to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs Wade?

I believe our state government should support our local pregnancy centers, adoption and foster children programs.

What should state government do to support and improve public education in Hawaii?

I believe I answered this above.

What reforms, if any, would you propose to make local government more transparent to the public?

I believe our Sunshine law provides for this but obviously more needs to be done. Governor Ige suspended access to public records in 2020 and that should never be allowed. There is still public data being requested that is not being released. Election transparency is another very important issue that needs to be addressed. The past 2+ years has proven that this important issue needs to be explored in depth, loopholes need to be closed, and language needs to be refined for the laws governing transparency in all government departments.

Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and why?

I feel this project does not benefit the public as a whole and does not have the support of the local people. The emotional turmoil and public outcry that it has caused has resulted in grievous division within the community and for this reason I cannot support it.

Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?

I am ready to work hard to restore life, liberty and Aloha to my district and Hawaii and I humbly ask for your vote. Mahalo!


View more candidate questionnaires or see more 2022 Hawaii elections coverage.
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