VIDEO: George Fontaine – Candidate Profile 2012
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk3ux8iUG6s /] Interview and transcription by Wendy Osher
INTRO: Tell us about yourself and your campaign.
Aloha. My name is Rep. George Fontaine and I’m running for re-election for State House District 11, which incorporates Kihei, Wailea, and Makena. As an advocate for small business, I’m working hard and tirelessly to try to get our Kihei High School built. I want to go back to the Legislature and continue the fight that I’ve been doing. We’ve had a number of positive things that have happened out of this Legislature, including cyber crime bills that were put through based upon a form that I did about cyber crime at the Legislature this past year. So as we continue to move forward, I ask for your support. Please vote for me on November 6. Thank you.
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?
For one thing, I want to get our Kihei High School built. It’s long overdue. Senator Baker and I have been working very hard at trying to get the funding secured for that. I think going forward, Sen. Baker and I do have a plan I’m working on with the legislature and the finance committee to get that funding done. I’m also looking at continuing my fight against the increase in taxes and fees. We saw a number of them this past session, where we increased fees to the point where it’s really hurting people, especially the vehicle registration fees–everybody has been hurting from that one. And it hurts small businesses, so I want to go back and continue to work on that as well as supporting the protection of our environment. We had a number of ant-environmental bills that the Legislature tried to push through this year, and I worked really hard to fight against those types of bills. I want to continue to stay there and work for small businesses, and work in ways that we can creatively work together in partnership to come up with ways that will help small businesses, because they’re the largest employer in the state of Hawai’i. We need to work at supporting our small businesses, and making sure that we don’t continue to hammer them with increases in the cost of doing business, cost of labor, and all of those things. So, I’ve been a big advocate for that and those are the things that I see as the really top priorities.
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’ve always supported clean energy initiatives, especially wind, solar, and other types of diverse renewable energy projects. But what we have to be careful about is with the solar tax credits that we don’t create a wild-wild west of mainland companies coming in and trying to take advantage of those tax credits, and then inadvertently, we cause shortfalls in our state budget. So we need to look at legislation–and we tried this session to come up with one–unfortunately it died in conference, that would have supported a more meaningful solar tax credit for folks. As we move forward, we need to continue to pursue it. We need to look at creative ways where we can support these types of projects, and go forward with them, and try to reduce our dependencies on fossil fuels.
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?
We had an opportunity for a second hospital here before and it was a real shame that we lost out on that opportunity. Hopefully we will have someone interested in coming back and trying again to provide a second hospital. We need to be able to increase the amount of medical personnel that are practicing medicine in this state; and obviously a teaching hospital or something along that line would be ideal, especially for the island of Maui where we only have one hospital servicing three islands. It becomes even more important that we have alternatives for healthcare–especially long-term health care. So yes, I am supportive of us trying to get an additional hospital. I think that we need to go back and take a look at the certificate of need, which is the reason why the attempt at the second hospital last time failed. And looking at restructuring the certificate of need regulations so that we can make it a more open and friendly process for people to start hospitals. We’re looking on an island of O’ahu where we two hospitals that were shuttered, and we have someone who wants to come in and purchase them and get them up and running again, but we’re at least two years away because of the certificate of need process for having that happen. So, we need to work in ways that we can make the certificate of need more appropriate and easier for institutions or businesses to come in and invest in Hawai’i, and invest in health care.
My name is Representative George Fontaine, and I’m running for House District 11, which is Kihei, Wailea, and Makena. I am humbly asking you for your support and vote on November 6th. I encourage anyone who would like to get involved in my campaign to please visit my campaign website at http://fontaine4maui.com/, where you can sign up and volunteer or get a yard sign or a bumper sticker, donate money–we need all of those things. We need the entire community to really come out and support this year. If anyone is interested in the work that I have done, over these past two years at the Legislature, please visit my non-campaign website where you’ll find a listing of Youtube videos of me in session, as well as archived episodes of my television show called The Fontaine Factor, where you’ll have an opportunity to watch some of the very important issues that we’ve discussed throughout the last two years–and I think you’ll gain a lot of insight as to exactly who I am, what I represent, and what I plan to do, and what my goal and vision is for the community in South Maui as well as the state of Hawai’i. Thank you.