LIHU’E – Kaua’i County Council incumbents will be squaring off against Kaipo
Asing – a former mayoral candidate and one of the county’s most prolific
vote-generators- in this year’s council race.
Asing held office for at
least two decades before he stepped down in 1998, when he lost a bid to become
Political observers thought he retired from public office after
that loss, but he filed nomination papers on July 10 to make another run for a
seat on the seven-member council.
Also, former mayoral candidate and
council member John Barretto Jr. has said he is “99 percent sure” he would file
for a council race by July 25, the deadline for formally entering races for
elected office on Kaua’i this year.
Here is a thumbnail sketch of the
council candidates-incumbents and challengers- who have filed to run for
* Ron Kouchi, 42, current chairman of the council, has held a
seat on the council since January 1983. Kouchi is a registered representative
for AXA Advisors, provider of financial services.
A Lihu’e resident, Kouchi
is married and has two children.
He said his achievements of the past two
years include a community-based process for the General Plan update, and
securing funds for a new multi-million headquarters for the county police,
county prosecutors and Civil Defense office.
He said key issues for the
future include purchase of Kaua’i Electric by Kaua’i Island Utility Co-op and
adoption of the General Plan update.
* Randal Valenciano, 41, has been a
councilman for nearly 10 years. He’s a private attorney and a one-time county
A Lihu’e resident, Valenciano is married and has three
He pointed to revision of agricultural tax law and balancing
personal goals with council goals as his achievements, while completion of the
General Plan, solid-waste disposal and monitoring of the sugar industry are
* James K. Tokioka, 38, is chairman of the council’s Finance
Committee and a restaurateur. He is married and has two children.
achievements for the past two years, he said, include being part of a process
that allowed council members and Mayor Maryanne Kusaka’s administration to
“agree to disagree.” He also noted a 1999-2000 county budget that kept
property tax rates status quo and upgraded government services, including
Goals, he said, include continuing to address community
concerns and issues, and public service opportunities such as Kaua’i Net Expo,
which he founded three years ago, and Hawaii Association for the Education of
* Billy Swain, a former state legislator who is seeking his
second council term.
Swain couldn’t be reached for comment on his
* Bryan Baptiste, vice chairman of the council. The
44-year-old lives in Wailua, is married and has four children.
Lihu’e Airport gateway project going are among his accomplishments, he said.
Toward the future, Baptiste said he hopes to encourage economic diversification
to allow young people to return to Kaua’i to meaningful, well-paying jobs
after finishing their college studies.
* Daryl W. Kaneshiro seeks a second
term on the council.
Although a freshman council member, Kaneshiro has
shown to be cool under fire.
A rancher, he was a key member of former
mayor Tony Kunimura’s administration in the 1980s.
He couldn’t be reached
* Gary L. Hooser is also seeking a second term on the
The Kapa’a businessman, who is married, has gained a reputation as
being open-minded on proposals before the council.
He could not be reached
* William (Kaipo) Asing ran for mayor and lost in 1998. He’s a
retired Hawaiian Telephone executive.
As a former member of the council
for nearly two decades, Asing earned a reputation as the gatekeeper of council
activities, constantly questioning activities of the county government.
top vote-getter in past elections, he spent little money on his campaigns. He
merely waved from roadsides with an election sign in hand and wearing a
traditional, carnation lei.
He was unavailable for comment on his new
* Sonny “Cayetano” Gerardo, 60, retired as civil defense
director of Kaua’i County following 18 years of service and worked as an
administrative assistant to former mayor Eduardo Malapit from 1975 to 1981.
The Air Force veteran worked under mayors Kunimura, JoAnn Yukimura and
Married and a Koloa resident, Gerardo said his nearly 25 years of
service to the county can help the community improve roads and water and
utility services, improve education and create employment. He said he also
wants to reduce crime by filling police officer vacancies, and he calls for
support of small local businesses.
* Anne Donovan, 38, of Kapa’a, who ran
for a council seat in 1998, is a businesswoman and the mother of two children.
She also has been a student leader at Kaua’i Community College and a worker
with the county Commission on the Status of Women.
Pressing issues, she
said, include minimum wage, changes in welfare reform law and domestic
violence, the need for higher-paying jobs in the tourism industry, education,
and council involvement with the community that goes beyond passing the yearly
* Robert Cariffe, 43, ran or the council seat in 1996 and 1998.
This time around, he is calling for a war on drug use, restoring funding for
magazines at state libraries, and using proceeds from the sale of recycled
goods to benefit Kaua’i.
He is married and has two children.
* Rhoda L.
Libre, of Kaumakani, was not available for comment.
* John Barretto Jr.
66, served on the council from 1982 to 1986. He ran for mayor as a Republican
A retired businessman, Barretto once owned nine gasoline stations
on O’ahu, a Snap-on Tools dealership on O’ahu, Fishing for Fun Charters,
Ahukini Marine Service and Supply, and Auto Aide.
He said the current
council rubber-stamps programs proposed by Kusaka administration. More
check-and-balance is needed in county government, he said.
He also wants to
halt increases in taxe, opposes pay raises for Kusaka and top government
appointees, and scrutiny of the selection and confirmation of county Planning
Staff writer Paul C. Curtis contributed to this
report. Staff writer Lester Chang can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or