VIDEO: George Fontaine State House Dist 11 Candidate Profile, Decision 2010 MauiNOW.com
George Fontaine, 2010 candidate for State House District 11, Transcript:
Introduction: Please introduce yourself, give your name, the race you are running for and briefly name the key issues you plan to address in your campaign. Answer: My name is George Fontaine and I’m running for District 11 for the state House of Representatives. I have been a long-time Kihei resident. I plan to focus my campaign, and if I’m elected to office, working on jobs and the economy, improving our education system, and also looking at affordable housing being part of the major issues that I
want to address in the next legislative session. I’m a retired police captain; I’ve worked for Na Hale o Maui, which is a community based land trust organization; I’ve served as vice-chair for the Maui County Civil Service Commission; I’ve been involved with the Catholic Task Force on Homelessness, helping to get the homeless people off the beaches and out of our parks and into shelters. I’ve been active in the community as the past president of the Kihei Community Association a few years back, and would like to continue my community service and serve you, the voters at the next state legislature.
Medical Marijuana: Are in support of or against the legalization of medical marijuana dispensaries or compassion centers in Hawaii?
Answer: I understand that there is a need for people to have access to medical marijuana. Right now, what we’ve seen in other states and other dispensaries, is that they’re ripe for abuse, and until that situation is figured out and we can get a handle on how to properly distribute marijuana, I’m against it. We also need to look at repealing the federal law. Having the federal government just say they’re not going to enforce it, is not good enough for me. I think that if we really are going to truly go down that path and provide medical marijuana for those who need it, then it needs to start with the federal government repealing the law, then looking at ways that we can do it in a manner that it will not get into the hands of kids. That it actually goes to people that actually need the substance.
Education reform/locally controlled school boards: What is your stance on locally controlled school boards?
Answer: Absolutely. When I ran before in 2008, I supported local school boards, and I also support equal funding for charter schools, and not having any type of cap on the funding for charter schools. I think it’s important that we have to diversify our education system and not have it be a state-run system. Unfortunately, with all the unions and everything else in play, whether we are ever going to be able to accomplish that goal and break apart the DOE, is another matter. What I’d like to start on first is looking at doing an audit of the DOE, and looking at where this billion dollars–40% of our tax payer money–is going into this organization, and from what it appears from the partial audit that was done, the system is ripe with abuse and other kinds of situations that are happening within the DOE that are causing a lot of wasteful spending. I think if we can cut back on the wasteful spending; look at ways of improving the salaries of our teachers, and improving our school facilities; giving more local control to the principals, teachers, students and parents of a local school–that’s where we need to start. That’s the first step, is a complete independent audit.
Superferry: Given the current economic climate, would you support the return of the Hawaii Superferry to help stimulate interisland commerce?
Answer: As soon as that environmental impact statement is done and we can show that the ferry can operate in waters around the state of Hawaii, and not harm our environment. I think that the way that it was handled the first time was kind of putting the cart before the horse. I think we should have gone through the process and taken out all of these questions that have been raised about the environmental issues. I’m not in support of the government running the Superferry. If the Superferry is to come back, it needs to be run totally by a private organization without any type of state subsidy or funding. This is something that needs to be run by a private enterprise, and not yet another government program.
Transient accommodations tax: If elected to serve, what would you do to ensure that Maui keeps its share of the Transient Accommodations Tax?
Answer: I would vote against any type of legislation that would eliminate our Transient Accommodations Tax. So much of our economy here on Maui relies on that income that we get from that TAT. All of our government programs and services that the county provides relies on that Transient Accommodations Tax. And I don’t think it’s fair that legislators in Oahu are making decisions about tax money or revenue that’s garnered within our county. That money needs to stay in our county and help our county programs.
Closing thoughts: (this is your opportunity to give contact info or upcoming campaign info for Maui constituents)
Answer: You can go on the web. My web address is really easy to remember. It’s fontaine4maui.com. You can read about our campaign. You can also donate, find out about future events. You can also find me on facebook at facebook.com/georgefontaine. We have almost 400 friends online right now that I communicate with on an almost daily basis. We’d love to see you get involved and make some posts. Add me as a friend, and you’ll get all kinds of good information about what I’m doing, where I’m walking, different kinds of campaign events that we’re having. We’re having an event on August 29th, 2010 at Hanley Equipment Rental at 5 p.m. We’d love to see you come out and support a local business and you can hear more about my candidacy on that evening.