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… Starting with Kahoolawe
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 kupuna.
During these years, Cynthia developed deep roots in the Hawaiian community, and continues to respect the sovereignty rights of native Hawaiians, and shares their spiritual connection to the land.
Cynthia continued to earn a reputation as a successful fighter to protect the environment. She also worked for years with the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii to provide free legal services to Hawaii’s low income families and children.
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.
While in office, Cynthia has successfully advocated for countless bills that have become law. In the last six years alone, she successfully sponsored or cosponsored 34 bills that became law, including the landmark renewable energy package. This is an unprecedented record of accomplishment for a minority member in the House of Representatives.
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 our State at heart.