LIHUE — A career of service to children and families has led Koloa resident Norma Doctor Sparks to throw in her bid for County Council.
This isn’t the first time she’s run for the office, but Doctor Sparks said she’s running again because she believes she can translate her career in law and public service to benefit Kauai.
“I have decided to run for Kauai County Council again because I continue to be concerned about Kauai and all of our people, both those born here and those who choose to live here,” Doctor Sparks said.
Doctor Sparks ran for county council in 2016 and finished out of the top seven, receiving 6,911 votes.
Doctor Sparks said she will work to achieve a transparent and accountable government, a fiscally responsible government, improved services without loss of services or personnel, protection of the environment and no new taxes.
For most of her career, Doctor Sparks has focused on serving children and families.
“I want to ensure that the children, youth, and families on Kauai are provided the support and resources for what they need and what they hope for,” Doctor Sparks said. “Children should be able to live, work and buy a house on Kauai.”
A former deputy attorney general for the state of Hawaii, Doctor Sparks, who graduated from Kauai High School, started her career as a social worker, eventually earning her law degree.
“I will use my deputy attorney general experience to consider consequences and legality of Council actions,” Doctor Sparks said. “My director of large public agencies experiences to manage the county’s budget and activities; and my social worker experience to address Kauai’s social conditions.”
With family roots in the sugar plantation industry, Doctor Sparks said education is important because it is a great equalizer that can lift families out of poverty.
Currently serving on the Board of Regents for the University of Hawaii, Doctor Sparks said, “I want to help our young people receive the support and resources so that anyone who wants to continue their education after high school, will be able to do so.”
One way she’s ensuring this is through her new nonprofit organization called Teen College Inc., that will mentor and encourage students to pursue a college education.
Keeping Kauai’s environment as pristine as it was when she grew up here is important to Doctor Sparks, who believes in balancing economic and environmental needs. She also hopes to advocate through education and outreach programs alternate waste disposal methods.
Homelessness on Kauai is also a concern for Doctor Sparks.
“The county should facilitate a ‘Housing First’ program that requires participation and agreement to achieve common goals by law enforcement, rental property owners, poverty programs, and employers,” she said. “Priority is given to identifying resources to re-house families with children and veterans first temporarily and then permanently as quickly as possible.”
“I’m comfortable with administrative law and I feel I can provide some of those services here,” Doctor Sparks said. “I really understand government spending and priorities and I don’t feel like the council always focuses on the right priorities.”