HawTel workers’ union
opposes PUC nominee

The leader of the electrical workers
says she doesn't have enough
telecom experience

By Rob Perez

The union representing more than 2,000 GTE Hawaiian Tel workers is opposing Gov. Ben Cayetano's planned appointment of state executive Rae Loui to the Public Utilities Commission.

George Waialeale, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1357, said Loui has little, if any, telecommunications experience even though one of the three-member commission's major responsibilities is to provide oversight for that industry.

The telecom business is undergoing sweeping changes locally and nationally partly due to increased deregulation.

"We are concerned the decisions made by someone that has limited experience in the area of telecommunications will have a disastrous affect on our 2,000 members," Waialeale said.

Loui declined comment yesterday. She is a deputy director at the Department of Land and Natural Resources, overseeing protection and regulation of the state's water resources.

Cayetano, through a spokeswoman, said Loui is highly qualified for the PUC post.

She has a bachelor's and master's degree in civil engineering from Stanford University and a master's in business administration from the University of California at Berkeley.

The Hilo High School graduate has held a variety of jobs, including stints with Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. in California and the Maui Department of Water Supply.

Her appointment must be approved by the state Senate.

The position has been vacant since Greg Pai, another Cayetano nominee, left the commission in late April following opposition to his 1996 interim appointment.

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