VIDEO: Netra Halperin – Candidate Profile 2012

July 19, 2012, 11:49 AM HST · Updated July 23, 1:05 PM
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Netra Halperin, 2012 photo by Wendy Osher.

  Interview and transcription by Wendy Osher

INTRO: Tell us about yourself and your campaign.

Aloha. I’m Netra Halperin and I am requesting the honor of representing South Maui in the Hawai’i state Legislature. 

Representing a community is about relationship–one that is created by working together on concerns and projects in the community.  It is not about merely stating that one wants to protect the environment, improve education, or strengthen the economy.  It’s about having a track record of actually working with and for the community on those issues.

I am the only District 11 democratic candidate who is actively working with and for South Maui.  From co-founding Kihei Community Keiki Club, to being a member of the South West Maui Watershed Advisory Group, and also my many South Maui-focused episodes of Netra’s News. 

My demonstrated commitment to and relationship with the people and organizations of South Maui ensures solid advocacy in the Hawai’i legislature.

Mahalo for considering voting on August 11 for Netra Halperin.

Question 1: What is your number one priority for the South Maui Community in this upcoming term and how do you plan to implement action to accomplish this goal?

The top priority legislatively for Kihei–for South Maui–is getting a high school built.  I’ve been going door-to-door; I’ve been talking to many, many constituents, and people are very discouraged that their kids have all grown up and they haven’t had the high school. So, that’s a top, top priority.

Kids have to get up at 5 in the morning, get shipped off to Maui High. 

The state has purchased, the DOE has purchased the land.  What the next hurdle is, is getting the funding.  As we know, that’s a challenge in many issues these days.

I am a very resourceful person.  I’m also a person that–I keep finding solutions, I keep looking for many different ways to accomplish things.

I did work in the legislature for two sessions–2009 and 2011–for the chair of Housing, so I am familiar with many of the organizations.  I have working relationships with many legislators, and so I think I can hit the ground running.

I know they used to have something calls COPS, Certificate of Purchase, but because that required 8% administrative fee, of course the Director of Finance nixed that.  Perhaps we can find something–some kind of investing vehicle that didn’t have such a high overhead. 

Also, working with the administration, working with the Finance Committee, working with the Ways and Means Committee–so that would be my top priority, is getting the money.

Question 2: There is a new Auwahi windfarm being built in South Maui. What are your thoughts on renewable energy, and would you support tax credits for such clean energy initiatives?

I am a very strong supporter of clean energy.  What I am also supportive of is changing the structure of how our utilities are set up here in Hawai’i.  Currently we have a monopoly, and that monopoly with the requirement that they have to provide electricity to everyone, also gets to have all of the business.

The problem with that is that discourages innovation. For instance, many years ago–10 to 20 years ago–many people suggested to Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric, that they should do renewable energy; but since they had a plan, they were going forward and you know, why change things.

The other thing is that if the business–this is a private for-profit regular business–if they lose money, they go to the PUC and then they get a rate hike.  If they make money, they make money.  So, it’s not really fair to the taxpayers.  It’s not a good set up.

Another option would be a cooperative–something where the rate payers and the owners of the utility are the same people.  So there’s an incentive to save, an incentive to be creative.

Solar panels–the price has gone down massively in the last while.  Battery storage capability is improving–so now is the time, especially in Kihei.  Kihei has one of the best solar possibilities of anywhere in the world–so absolutely, we should really max that out and do more solar power.

And yes, I approve of tax credits for renewable energy.

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Question 3: Health Care: Would you support the creation of a second hospital on Maui? Would it provide more convenient, life-saving care for outlying residents, or dilute the quality of care on the island?

I am absolutely a supporter of the South Maui hospital.  That’s part of my platform, and that’s what I’ve been telling, as I’ve said, many of the constituents in the district as I go door-to-door.  Many many people are very happy about that.

Of course, South Maui is an aging community.  There’s many people who came to South Maui to retire, and then the people that are already here.  So we do need that. 

I am in communication with Malulani.  The original plan that they had was a private for profit, and that, as everybody knows–the certificate of need was denied on that one; but now they’re working on a private non-profit.  I think that’s the best structure for a hospital because obviously we don’t want a lot of profit, a lot of cost-cutting going to share holders.  We want the money that is paid into the hospital to be recycled–pay for the staff, the doctors, the nurses, the facility.  

The idea is to have a health insurance plan–a hospital health insurance plan–so that would be awesome if we could get that.  It would be a teaching hospital; they’d have medical tourism–and that would bring in money to subsidize the health care aspect.  I think that’s a really good idea, and obviously the people getting plastics could go stay in a nice resort.  So, that would be a good location for that.

I have influence on it.  I am a big promoter of alternative health care, natural health care, and also drug treatment.  I have worked as a social worker, and there’s a huge dearth of drug treatment–so those would be things that I would also want to include in addition to a strong wellness and preventative program.

Closing Thoughts:

I’m Netra Halperin.  Please consider voting for me in the primary election.  My website is electnetra.com.  Also, I’m on Facebook; and also, I have a TV show, Netra’s News–it’s on Akaku every weekday evening.  You can go and check out the times on that, and also 21 past episodes are also on Youtube.  If you watch those, you get a real strong idea of what my values are, what I stand for, and what I would do for the South Maui community.

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