County Council (Makawao-Haiku-Paia)
NAME: Mike Molina
YEARS ON MAUI: Born in Wailuku
CURRENT PROFESSION: County Councilmember
EXPERIENCE: Air Force, Hawaii Air National Guard, teacher
PRESIDENTIAL ENDORSEMENT: Decline to state
KEY DISTRICT ISSUES: TVRs Says he is “open to regulating this industry so long as a process is put in place that respects the input of neighboring residents and that TVR owners pay their fair share of taxes.” Advocates “scrutiny” of TVRs on Ag zoned land… WATER “I will support funding to upgrade our transmission lines to improve water quality and service, additional water storage, and finding additional sources of water.”
KEY MAUI ISSUES: ECONOMY Advocates “aggressively marketing local agriculture and Maui made products” and creating “vacation packages that attract neighbor island residents.”… HOUSING Touts his support for a four-point plan that involves low-interest county loans, an affordable housing fund, workforce housing and rental assistance.
NAME: Kahekai “Kai” Nishiki
YEARS ON MAUI: Born on island, 1971
CURRENT PROFESSION: Business owner, mother
EXPERIENCE: Legislative aide
KEY DISTRICT/MAUI ISSUES: HOUSING Advocates using local labor to build affordable units, creating a “centralized affordable housing list maintained by the county.” Calls for homes built to be outfitted with solar panels and other alternative energy systems… WATER “Privatization, contamination, and wasteful water practices threaten our water resources. I support equitable distribution of water with in-stream flow restoration and kuleana users as a priority.”… TVRs “I would include vacation rentals in the category of home-based businesses provided the owner is a Maui resident who pays resident income tax. I do not support absentee TVRs owned by offshore speculators who drive our home prices up.”
NOTE: Information on Nishiki taken from her campaign Web site.
House 12th District (Upcountry)
NAME: Kyle Yamashita (D)
CURRENT PROFESSION: State legislator
EXPERIENCE: Business owner
PRESIDENTIAL ENDORSEMENT: Obama
KEY DISTRICT ISSUES: AGRICULTURE Calls for improvements to irrigation systems, supports “Important Ag Lands” policy; has “supported bills to provide financial assistance for farmers, including loans for photovoltaic energy and wind power generation projects.” SUSTAINABILITY Cites alternative energy, recycling programs as important, also wants to “be more aggressive in the fight against invasive species.”
KEY MAUI ISSUES: HEALTHCARE Calls for a review of the Certificate of Need process, better reimbursements for hospitals, physicians TRANSPORTATION “This should not come at the expense of our environmental health, but we need to be open and innovative to ways in which we can encourage access to and from Maui.”
NOTE: The winner of the primary will face Republican Eugene “Mickey” Vierra, who did not respond to requests for input by the deadline.
NAME: Summer Starr (D)
YEARS ON MAUI: 25
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Legislative Reference Bureau, environmental advocacy
PRESIDENTIAL ENDORSEMENT: Obama
KEY DISTRICT/MAUI ISSUES: ECONOMY Advocates “job-skill education programs and extended unemployment benefits.”; supports capital improvements projects, creation of “green collar” jobs… FOOD/FUEL SECURITY Supports local agriculture: “it is clear that buying local is healthier for our bodies and healthier for our communities.” Says it is her “goal for Maui to become the global leader in the percentage of energy produced from renewable sources.”
“The time for behind-closed-door politics is through. The people are demanding transparency and accountability in government.”
– Summer Starr
Though we’re profiling every state and county candidate before the primary election, not every race will see “action” on Sept. 20. County Council races with three or more candidates will be pared down to two; state races are partisan, so Democrats battle Democrats to face the Republican challenger, if there is one, in November.