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Thielen takes post
Thielen was elected to the school board in 2002 and would have had to run for re-election next year.
She has supported Lingle's plans for school board decentralization in the face of opposition by a majority of board members.
Lingle praised Thielen, who is the daughter of GOP Rep. Cynthia Thielen, calling the 44-year old lawyer "an outstanding strategic planner."
"This is a job I have been working towards for the last five to seven years," Laura Thielen said yesterday.
Saying that she applied for the position after seeing "an ad in the newspaper," Thielen is to start work today.
"Comprehensive state-wide planning, strategic planning and both state growth and the use of resources are some of the main issues," she said.
Lingle said she will look for a replacement for Thielen's Board of Education position.
The state Planning Office represents the state in hearings before the Land Use Commission and can coordinate state agencies' planning and development.
Thielen has "an extensive background in land use and environmental law," Lingle said.
The state planning director's position has been filled temporarily since 2003 by Mary Lou Kobayashi, a state planner and the wife of former Democratic state Sen. Bert Kobayashi.