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Tuesday, April 23, 2024 77° Today's Paper


2022 Election: Mary Smart

Mary Grace Heagney Smart
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Name on ballot:

Mary Smart

Running for:

State Senate – District 18

Political party:


Campaign website:


Current occupation:

Real Estate Associate



Previous job history:

Naval Officer for 30 years

Previous elected office, if any:

Mililani Neighborhood and Cluster Boards

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

BS in Computer Science, Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, completed two Advanced Management Programs. Commanded large organizations planned and managed multi-million dollar budgets with a special focus on telecommunications networks and cyber security. I am responsive to other people’s needs.

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

Cost of Living. I intend to cut waste and hold government departments accountable to operate within their allocated budgets. There are too many costly, valueless, and mismanaged government programs. This will enable government to cut taxes

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?

Stop passing legislation that increases the cost of living. Reduce and/or eliminate some taxes such as those on food, medical services, and medical supplies. Stop creating new and raising current taxes and fees that are crippling the ability of families to meet their own financial needs. The state needs to live within a reasonable budget. Amend the Jones Act at the federal level.

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?

Gas taxes should be permanently reduced. State gas taxes should only be used to maintain the roadway infrastructure and not siphoned off to other uses. Hawaii should pressure the federal government to restart drilling and reopen the pipeline to achieve energy independent again. There is enough oil in our country to last a century. We should not be dependent on a foreign nation and hostage to their higher costs.

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

Based on what I know, I am comfortable with the level of tourism we had before the pandemic. We have many hotels and businesses that rely on tourists to survive. Perhaps placing a limit on the number of new hotels could be considered. We shouldn’t destroy our main source of employment. Many residents have invested in enterprises that service tourists.

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

There could be different types of tourism. Farm tourism or medical tourism might be possible. However, the agriculture and medical communities should be the ones proposing, organizing, and funding it. As long as government stays out of the way, it could work.

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

I would like to see more land zoned for residential development where modular homes and other “starter” homes could be located. I would like to see a portion of newly rezoned land be zoned to allow on-site businesses including vacation rentals. This would help people afford the mortgage and begin a business that will support them and add to Hawaii’s economy without disrupting established neighborhoods.

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

Encourage early treatment of symptoms with FDA approved medicines (even if off-label) known to successfully treat the disease. Media and government agencies censored the life-saving success rate of these medications. Pharmacies were not allowed to fill doctor prescriptions for these medicines. Instead, an experimental medication was designated the appropriate hospital protocol which may have led to an increased death count.

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?

Make the state financially stable by paying down unfunded liabilities. Potable water is an essential commodity. Repairing our water supply infrastructure should be a priority project. The public is cautioned to conserve water while each water main break wastes large amounts of our precious water resources.

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

Hawaii’s abortion law was in place prior to the 1973 Supreme Court decision. The decision should not have any effect in the state’s abortion policy.

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

The Board of Education needs to be restructured into community districts and reinstitute elected Board members by putting the repeal of the Governor appointed BOE on the ballot for voter approval. We need to stop taking federal money such as the “American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief” (ESSER) Program that come with requirements such as requiring Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), Critical Race Theory (CRT), Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) and others that are detrimental to students and their ability to learn. These federal programs are a type of bribery to have the state institute measures that they would never agree to without the monetary incentive. It is time to put parents back in control of K-12 education

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

I would eliminate the use of a Permitted Interaction Group (PIG). During the 2020 census reapportionment process the Reapportionment Commission used a PIG to develop redistricting maps in private. Even members of the Reapportionment Commission had no knowledge of their process or rationale for the proposed maps. The general public had even less visibility into the process. As a constituent it appeared that State Constitution requirements for forming House and Senate Districts were ignored. Also, the legislature must end (not just talk about ending) their gut and replace tactic.

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

I support it. Increased knowledge of the universe benefits everyone. It will be a good way to diversify the economy and be a great educational resource for our children. In the past technology advances and respect for the Hawaiian culture coexisted very well.

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

With an engineering, information technology, planning and budgeting, and contract management background I am well suited for the Senate position. I ask many questions in search of truth before making a decision on an issue. I believe humility and unity are the keys to success for a state and a nation. We are all loved by God, equal in His eyes and all must be treated with dignity and respect.

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