Birthplace: El Campo, Texas
Occupation: State senator
Political experience: State House of Representatives (West Maui, Molokai, Lanai), 1988-93; appointed to Senate, Nov. 1993, by then Gov. John Waihee (West Maui, part of Central Maui, Molokai Lanai); state Senate 1994-98; 2002 to present
Education: Bachelor of arts, political science and speech, with a secondary teaching certificate, Southwest Texas State University (now known as Texas State University at San Marcos), 1968; graduate studies in political science, University of Southwestern Louisiana (now known as University of Louisiana, Lafayette), 1968 to 1969
Candidates for state Senate and House seats were all asked to answer:
* Hospital privatization. What is your position on the privatization of Maui Memorial Medical Center and the Hawaii Health System Corp.?
And, they were asked to choose and answer one of the following:
* Health Connector. What do you think of the state's rollout of the Health Connector? And what do you think should be done to "fix" it? Or should it be scuttled entirely?
* Political contributions. To what extent do you see political campaign contributions affecting Hawaii elections? Is there need for reform? If so, what would that be?
* Same-sex marriage. What do you think of the Hawaii Legislature's passage of a bill to legalize same-sex marriages? Is this the end of this issue?
* Electricity costs. Hawaii electricity consumers pay the highest power rates in the United States. What, if anything, can be done about this?
* Sunshine Law. Do you think Hawaii's Sunshine Law adequately protects the public's right to know? If not, what change is needed?
* State unfunded liabilities. Do you think enough is being done to address unfunded liabilities?
Community involvement: American Cancer Society, Hawaii-Pacific board immediate past chairwoman; American Cancer Society, High Plains Board, secretary; Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunrise, member and past president, 2007-08; Maui Economic Development Board, director; Hawaii State Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition, past chairwoman, 2009-10) and quality of life team leader
Hospital privatization: "The business of health care has changed dramatically. Costs are up and reimbursements are down. In order to infuse our community-based health care system with additional capital and other resources, it is important to explore one or more public-private partnerships for Maui Memorial Medical Center and Hawaii Health Systems Corp. as a whole to continue improving and expanding health care services in Maui County. Residents cannot be short-changed in health care services.
"I support more state resources going to MMMC and HHSC. Our Maui delegation has brought home millions of dollars for facility and equipment upgrades. However, it is doubtful that with competing needs and finite state resources that the state budget will be able to afford ever-growing operating and infrastructure expenses of our hospital system.
"Nurses, doctors, technicians and support staff, who are vital to delivering quality care and running the hospital, are key stakeholders in the care system and need to be actively engaged in this process. MMMC has always been a unionized workplace. I definitely support the right of all employees to organize and bargain collectively with any new entity that might emerge. Going forward, I envision more opportunities for jobs, not less. Change is inevitable, but it should be thoughtful, sustainable and suited to Maui's needs."
Electricity costs: "Maui is making great progress going green - 30 percent in 2013 - but unfortunately that hasn't been enough to reduce ratepayers' bills. However, without green efforts, rates would be higher. Here's what else needs to be done:
"Aggressively pursue utility-scale wind and solar projects so everyone benefits, not just those who can afford rooftop solar.
"Modernize individual island electric grids; smart grids allow greater use of solar and wind power.
"Full implementation of Act 37 (2013), which I authored, requires utility efficiencies and savings passed on to ratepayers.
"Utilize cheaper, cleaner liquefied natural gas as a transition fuel for power generation.
"Democratize use of photovoltaic systems by aggressively implementing the Green Energy Market Securitization programs for community solar, enabling renters and nonprofits to take advantage of rooftop solar.
"Although the community solar bill, which I actively supported, didn't get out of 2014 conference committee, Public Utilities Commission can and must move expeditiously with this policy initiative.
"As Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee chair, I'm proud we gave the PUC more tools to implement our green energy initiatives. The PUC must now streamline its processes to better direct utility transformation from power generator to power distributor and reduce rates."