Furfaro making run for council seat

It is a well-worn path, though a bit overgrown from lack of use in recent years, from the Kaua’i Planning Commission to County Council.

Maxine Correa and the late Jimmy Tehada both used their mayoral appointments to the Planning Commission as ways of gaining knowledge, experience and exposure they would use to successfully transition to several terms of elected service on the County Council.

And Jay Furfaro, a current planning commissioner and one-time, unsuccessful candidate for a state House seat, hopes to once again improve that trail from the Planning Commission to County Council.

“I believe it’s important to have leaders in our communities step to the plate and serve,” said Furfaro, 53, general manager of the Radisson Kauai Beach Resort near Hanama’ulu.

A card-carrying Republican, Furfaro said the nonpartisan race for County Council, which he has entered along with 28 other candidates to fill seven seats, is not about political parties or affiliations.

“It’s about community.

“I want to give service to the island and community,” he said. “I want to give service to Kaua’i.”

A subject that has come up repeatedly since he filed for council in early March is his continuing to serve as a planning commissioner while running for council.

So he requested an opinion from the county Board of Ethics, whether or not members of that body had a problem with a seated planning commissioner running for a seat on the County Council.

The response from the Board of Ethics was that Furfaro need not resign from the Planning Commission to run for council. His Planning Commission term runs through February of 2004, and he would resign from that appointed position should he be elected in November.

He said what he discusses on the floor of the Planning Commission meetings pertains only to matters on the commission agenda, and he would never use that forum to forward his campaign goals.

Asked what he thought he could bring to the council if elected, Furfaro said, “I believe that my business experience, my sense of community and my leadership and negotiating skills,” would make him a valuable member of the council.

He would ensure two-way, back-and-forth communication, he said. “I possess that skill as a leader, I believe.” He also sees himself as possessing good stewardship skills, and sees himself as a strong advocate for the people of Kaua’i and other things he believes in.

As far as answering to another higher power, the Radisson’s hotel owners, regarding his run for council, Furfaro said there have been discussions that led to an agreement between himself and the owners to “revisit his role” as hotel general manager should he be elected to the council.

Originally from the Waianae Coast in Leeward O’ahu, Furfaro has been in the hotel industry on Kaua’i for 31 years, including management stints at Hanalei Plantation and Coco Palms.

His wife of 30 years, the former Beverly Ema Gomez, is the daughter of the late Henry and Judy Gomez of Hanalei, where she was raised. Their three grown daughters, Nicole, Jennifer and Marissa, are all graduates of The Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

In addition to serving on the Planning Commission, Jay Furfaro served one year on the Citizens Advisory Committee working on the latest General Plan Update, and is past president of the Kauai Historical Society and former trustee of the Kauai Museum.

Regarding the General Plan, he called the long-range planning guide “the community document.”

In his spare time, he surfs.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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