PTSA hosts forum for state candidates

The Kapaa Middle School Parent-Teacher-Student Association is hosting a forum for candidates for various state offices, including governor and the Kaua’i and Ni’ihau seats in the state Senate and state House of Representatives.

The forum is scheduled for this Friday, Sept. 6, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the school on Olohena Road.

The statewide PTSA organization is supporting similar forums across Hawai’i, including a gubernatorial forum on O’ahu.

The primary election is set for Saturday, Sept. 21, and the general election is scheduled to be held Tuesday, Nov. 5.

A new state Senate district effective this election will encompass all of Kaua’i and Ni’ihau.

There are three candidates in the race for the Kaua’i and Ni’ihau State Senate seat. Former Kaua’i Republican party chairwoman Rosie Holt, of Wailua Homesteads, is facing no opposition in the primary election, while incumbent Sen. Jonathan Chun of Lihu’e is facing County Councilmember Gary Hooser of Wailua Homesteads in the Democrat’s primary contest to determine who will run against Holt in the general election.

The Garden Island asked each of the three candidates to briefly discuss their views on public education, in 50 words or less. Their responses follow.

State Sen. Jonathan Chun (D)

“We must lower the class size in each school. Lowering the number of students in the classroom has a significant impact on the quality of the learning environment. The (state) Department of Education must be decentralized to allow each school complex more flexibility in deciding how to teach our children.”

Kaua’i GOP Chair Rosie Holt (R)

“We can bring accountability closer to the students, teachers, parents of Kaua’i and Ni’ihau” with local school boards. “We need to sponsor legislation requiring that adequate state funding be transferred to the new local boards on a per-student basis. We have to have leadership that makes it happen.”

Councilman Gary Hooser (D)

“There is nothing more important we can do for our children and our community in general than provide them with a good, solid education. That’s my personal commitment to the people of Kaua’i. It needs a lot of improvement,” better facilities, smaller class sizes, and more and better-trained teachers, he said.

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