If you have aspirations to seek public office on Kauai, today is your last chance to file nomination papers for the 2018 election.
You will be far from alone. And that’s a good thing.
First, the basics: To obtain an application for a nomination paper, and to view the candidate’s manual go to www.elections.hawaii.gov. The manual contains information on how to become a candidate for federal, state, and county office, and the applicable filing fees and requirements.
Some other key dates you need to know:
• July 12 — Last day to register to vote for the Primary Election.
• July 30 to Aug. 9 — Early Walk-in voting for the Primary Election.
• Aug. 4 — Last day to subject absentee mail application for the Primary Election.
• Aug. 11 — Primary Election.
• Oct. 8 — Last day to register to vote for the General Election.
• Oct. 23 to Nov. 3 — Early Walk-in voting for the General Election.
• Oct. 30 — Last Day to submit absentee mail application for the General Election.
• Nov. 6 — General Election.
There is strong interest in this year’s Kauai County Council election. There will be three open seats up for grabs as councilmembers Mel Rapozo, Derek Kawakami and JoAnn Yukimura are all running for mayor.
Our Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., who will be termed out after serving 10 years, by the way, is seeking the lieutenant governor’s office. One recent survey had him leading the field of five. A forum for lieutenant governor candidates is set for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Kauai Beach Resort. This is a great chance to get to know more about these fine candidate and see your mayor in action. Be there.
On the county council, we expect there will be more than 20 candidates total by day’s end, and at least five for mayor. When we have that kind of interest in public office, that can only be good. It shows people are paying attention and they believe they can make a difference for the better for their community.
Oftentimes, what happens with council races on small, tightknight places like Kauai, is that few run, believing they have little or no chance to winning against well established incumbents. That has been the case on Kauai. With an open election rather than district, challengers face an uphill battle to unseat someone with name recognition and who has strong community ties. But, again, this year’s three open seats opens the door of opportunity for those willing to try and go through it. If you’re thinking about it, go for it.
Congratulations are in order to anyone who seeks public office. It takes a thick skin to put your name out there knowing full well you will be criticized no matter what you do. But if you serve the people and the community as public servants are supposed to do, then you will do well.
With the growing problems of traffic, housing and cost of living, anyone on the council will have challenges to deal with from day one. There are no easy answers to these issues. And that’s not to mention the county’s continually growing operating budget which seems to set a new record-high each year.
Back to the county council race. This promises to be a good one. There are some incumbents and there are some strong challengers. A large field of candidates forces everyone to raise their game, and forces voters to pay more attention.
The more involved in government a community is, the stronger that community will be. And, we should add that this is also a sign people believe they can make a difference; they have not lost hope in their government. In fact, they want to be part of it.
And, in case you believe you don’t have a chance, we leave you with a tried but true cliche: You never know until you try.