Chris Lee, who has been a legislator for the past six years, is the Democratic candidate for District 51, which covers Lanikai and Waimanalo. In 2013, he served as chair of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection. He also served on a number of House committees, including Consumer Protection and Commerce, Judiciary, Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs, Tourism, and Water and Land.
Reducing the state’s debt is a priority for Lee. In 2013, the legislature made a decision to pay down the burden of state debt accumulated over the past 50 years. The first step was to put $100 million back into the Hurricane Relief Fund and Rainy Day Fund to prepare Hawaii for future disasters without having to borrow more money. These actions help to maintain Hawaii’s credit rating and lower the state’s interest rates on construction loans so the cost of building new schools and roads can be manageable.
Under a new Hawaii law, the State will be paying more than $500 million a year to pay down debt. One of the biggest battles in the last legislative session was a push to impose a new tax on people’s pensions. Fortunately, with the help of businesses, unions, and other organizations such as AARP, the proposal was defeated.