Hanapepe resident Jose M. Felix-Keamoai, a Republican candidate for the state House seat now held by Democrat Bertha Kawakami, by entering the race has set the stage for a rare event in Kaua’i politics:
A Republican primary to determine the candidate who will face Kawakami in the Tuesday, Nov. 5 general election.
Felix-Keamoai faces Kalaheo resident JoAnne Georgi in the Republican primary this Saturday, Sept. 21.
A maintenance man at the Makahuena at Po’ipu, Felix-Keamoai, 32, decided to run for elected office after asking current office-holders some pointed questions about education and other issues, and finding the answers lacking in substance, he said.
His daughter Moani Felix-Keamoai turns one today, Thursday, Sept. 19, and her father is very concerned about the public education system, and the Hawai’i and Kaua’i she will inherit.
He is married to Jolina Felix-Keamoai, a Waimea native whose parents were born and raised on Ni’ihau. Born in Mexico and raised in California, Jose Felix-Keamoai is a naturalized citizen who has lived on Kaua’i for 10 years.
If elected, he’ll try to offer real solutions and real answers to some of the problems in the state today, especially regarding education. Even if he is unsuccessful as a candidate, he hopes that by running he may encourage other younger people to seek office.
“My generation is not really being represented,” with most of the current elected officials being older than himself, he said. Those older elected officials are no in tune with younger voters, and so sometimes pass laws that don’t make a lot of sense to him, he said.
Felix-Keamoai offered further thoughts about politics as usual in Hawai’i.
“We have heard a lot about corruption, indictments, scandals and dishonesty on the news about more than a few of our current leaders, which has led me to believe that our current leadership has failed us,” he said.
“We’ve also believed a lot of promises that were made to us by our current leaders, and most of the promises were broken. Right now is a time to change,” he said.
Citizens must voice their opinions, he continued.
“I would like to see standards set for officials,” he said about the issue of honesty in office. “There should be no favoritism in office. Morality in office should not be an option. It should be an obligation to the voters,” he said.
“People elect candidates into office, therefore, I believe that the people should get involved,” he said on another topic. “One way that the people can get involved is getting to know the candidates, where they stand, how they are voting on various issues, what changes they would like to make when elected, and the reasons why they are running for office.”
Accountability is another major issue for Felix-Keamoai. “Stop unneeded spending of our hard-earned tax dollars,” and tell the people where their money is being spent, he said.