Green Elephant Spotlight

Representative Thielen was spotlighted in the January 30, 2012 issue of The Green Elephant:

The Green Elephant


Rep Thielen at the White House.One of the tenets of the GOP is that the best government is that which is closest to the people. Proximity to voters makes local and state policy makers more accountable than their federal counterparts. Partisanship is often set aside for the greater good. Local government also provides the crucible where new ideas may be tried and tested, and become best practices for the rest of the nation to follow.

We are justifiably proud that our grassroots membership extends to all 50 states. Many of our members hold public office, ranging from town councils to Congress. Other members are activists working on local issues, like watersheds or land preservation; others serve on local conservation group boards. Beginning today, we will introduce you to some of your fellow members. We know you will be inspired by them!

This Green Elephant turns the spotlight on Hawaii State Representative Cynthia Thielen.  That’s Cynthia (above left) racing an electric car, and (above right) at the White House in her role as a leader of CLEAN (Coalition of Legislators for Renewable Energy Now). A REP member for more than a decade, Cynthia is at the leading edge of environmental and conservation public policy.

Cynthia was raised by a single mother who taught her that a good education was the most valuable possession a person can have. When she dropped out of Stanford University in the 1950s to marry Mickey Thielen, she promised her mother she would one day return to school to finish her education. Twenty years and four children later, Cynthia graduated from the University of Hawaii, and then the William S. Richardson School of Law in 1979, where she was a founding member of the Law Review.

Working to protect the environment

Ten days after graduating from law school, Cynthia was in federal court arguing on behalf of her client, the Protect Kahoolawe Ohana. She was successful in stopping the United States Navy from bombing Kahoolawe and gained access to the island for the Ohana and their Kapuna. During these years, Cynthia developed deep roots in the Hawaiian community. She continues to respect the sovereignty rights of native Hawaiians, and shares their spiritual connection to the land.  Cynthia built a strong reputation as a successful fighter to protect the environment.

She was one of the primary co-sponsors of her state’s greenhouse gas standards legislation. Cynthia is a leading expert and proponent of wave energy, which has the potential to make a huge dent in the $7 billion annual sum sent out of state to purchase energy. Before “No Child Left Indoors” became a popular rallying cry in conservation circles, Cynthia had already initiated several hands-on programs for schools in her district. These programs educate students on problems facing Hawaii and on potential solutions.

Rep. Thielen has earned a sterling reputation among her peers in state capitals across the nation for her thoughtful leadership on environmental issues.

An unprecedented record of accomplishment

Cynthia was elected to the State House of Representatives, Windward District in 1990, and has been overwhelmingly re-elected every two years since that time. She is supported by Republicans, Independents and Democrats, all of whom recognize and respect her bi-partisan nature and effectiveness in getting legislation passed.

Cynthia is well liked and respected by her colleagues in both the Democratic and Republican parties, and has received numerous awards from outside organizations recognizing her as an outstanding lawmaker. She works hard, does not play political games, is bi-partisan, and is a warm, caring person who clearly has the interest of Hawaii at heart.

Electric Car raceFor more information on Cynthia’s work, particularly in energy and environmental policy, please visit her website at

Cynthia, on behalf of everyone at REP, including our members across America, thank you for your bold, strong, and forward-thinking leadership!