MAHALO TO THE WINDWARD COMMUNITY & OTHERS
From Rep Cynthia Thielen, October 21, 2020
I am retiring from the Hawaii House of Representatives on November 3, 2020, after 30 wonderful and fulfilling years. Many of you have been involved with the Legislative process with me, and I deeply appreciate your commitment to making government better. Responses to our Annual Legislative Survey always were double digits and helped us formulate better policies for our State.
I leave at a time when we face major challenges and also have major opportunities. We need to help our local Small Businesses and their employees to survive, and we need leaders who understand those challenges and can find solutions. At the same time, we have seen how many of our natural resources have benefitted and thrived from less impact. Hanauma Bay is a prime example showing us that if we manage numbers of tourists more carefully, we will preserve and nurture its environment for our future generations. Like some of you, I am a grandmother. My grandchildren Anna Thielen and her brother Patrick Thielen already recognize the need to protect Hawaii’s natural places of beauty.
When I first entered the State Legislature in 1990, Hawaii’s century-old sugar plantations were shutting down, throwing farm workers out of jobs. My son Peter, living on Kauai where another plantation shut, asked why we weren’t replacing sugar with hemp, a crop with 25,000 uses/products, none of which would get you “high.” I started investigating this crop; looked at all other industrialized nations where it was successfully being grown; and then introduced a bill to start the Hawaii Industrial Hemp Research Project. To its credit, Hawaii became the first State in the Nation to plant hemp seed after a 50-year long ban on this crop.
Research showed it would flourish in vacant sugar land, and it was among the best crops to pull contaminants from the soil (phytoremediation). Slowly through the years, Congress caught up, and restrictions on hemp were removed under the Federal Farm Act in 2016. Hempcrete, termite proof and fire-retardant now can replace oil-based drywall in construction. Hemp CBD oil has become widely used in body care products, pet products and as a natural supplement, Under the recent House Bill, which was signed into law, the federal US Department of Agriculture will work with Hawaii to set up the hemp growing program for our local farmers. It took 30 years, but hemp now “will happen.”
As Hawaii moves toward its goal of 100% renewable energy to power our Islands, I applaud the work being done off shore of Marine Corps Base Hawaii where 3 Wave Energy Converters are using the surge of the ocean to convert and deliver power into the electric grid. I started working on this in 1994, and as with hemp, it has taken some years to get results. According to federal research, Wave Energy in Hawaii could provide 100% of neighbor islands’ power needs and 80% of Oahu’s. Wave Energy is constant, and NOAA can forecast any drop in the source 24 hours in advance, making Wave Energy a dependable source of power for HECO to use instead of oil. Our State laws now include Wave Energy as a renewable energy resource, as we are surrounded by this natural and clean source of power.
I intend to stay active in the community where Mickey and I raised our family of four children, Dave, Peter, Laura, and Greg.
I send my aloha to you,