Video by David Corrigan, voice of Stephanie Salazar
PAPAIKOU, Hawaii – The mandatory recess is underway for state lawmakers. It’s a time when many elect to hold community meetings in their district to keep constituents up to date.
Over the last week, State Senator Malama Solomon has been holding talk stories across her territory: the enormous district 4 that stretches from Kona across all of Kohala and Hamakua to just north of Hilo.
On Thursday night, we caught up with Senator Solomon at Kalanianaole School in Papaikou, where she was speaking before a small crowd. We interviewed her afterwards.
The Senator is known at the Capitol for her no nonsense style. She speaks her mind and gets to the point, livening up some otherwise stale legislative procedures. She doesn’t back down from controversy. And as she told the folks who came out for her meeting in Papaikou on Thursday, she says she will not bow to special interests.
Her opinionated manner has earned her a few enemies. The Senator is even the focus of a Facebook page, “Malama Solomon Must Go”. As a political supporter of Governor Neil Abercrombie – who appointed her to a vacated senate seat shortly after he took office – Solomon has been attached to some of the governor’s unpopular initiatives, like the failed Public Land Development Corporation. But that doesn’t stop her from trying to meet the challenges facing the Aloha State. In the recent past she has sounded the alarm over Hawaii’s fiscal health, as well as its energy future. These days, she is troubled by the state’s high cost of living.
Stay tuned this week, as we continue our interview with the Senator. We’ll be talking with her about home rule – both federal and state – and also those controversial short form bills that appear from time to time in the legislature.