Family tops the list of things Kauaians are thankful for

The family came to mind first and foremost when various folks were asked what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving.

“I give thanks for my family. I’m thankful that my family supports everything I do,” said businessman Ray Paler, who was unsuccessful in his attempt to gain election to the Kaua’i County Council.

“I think I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful, healthy, loving family,” said Jenny Fujita, who through the end of this week is acting county public information officer.

“I’m so fortunate to live in this beautiful place, and that as a business owner I have a thriving livelihood,” said Fujita, a partner with Joy Miura in Fujita & Miura Public Relations.

“On a business level, I’m thankful for being able to service the community in times of need,” said Christiane L. Nakea, managing attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii Kaua’i office.

“I’m thankful that the Kaua’i office of Legal Aid is here to help. We’re just happy to be serving the Kaua’i community,” said Nakea, adding that she would be even more happy and thankful if more people recognized and took advantage of the services the Kaua’i office of the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii has to offer.

The Society offers legal assistance to low-income Kauaians who may otherwise not be able to afford legal representation.

“First of all, I have to show the gratitude to my wife and my family, for their support over the years,” said County Councilmember Bryan Baptiste, who on Monday, Dec. 2 officially becomes Mayor Baptiste.

“To the people of Kaua’i and the voters and my supporters, for the same (support), for allowing me the opportunity to serve. I guess the biggest thing is for allowing me to live on this island, that I was born on and truly love,” Baptiste said.

“I’m thankful for my family, and I’m thankful to the people of Kaua’i for allowing me to serve,” said former Councilmember Gary Hooser, a Democrat who was elected to the state Senate earlier this month.

His district is the entire county, including Ni’ihau.

“I guess I’m thankful for family, for friends,” said state Rep. Bertha C. Kawakami, a Democrat representing south and west Kaua’i and Ni’ihau.

“I think we’re so lucky to be living in Hawai’i, (with) our climate and so much to be thankful for in the environment we live in,” Kawakami said.

“I think it’s a little different than if you were in California or someplace else. It’s not the same, the camaraderie that we get here in Hawai’i, that makes it all the better to be living here,” she said.

“There’s so much to be thankful for. We just take it for granted, that’s the problem,” she said. “But this is a good time to look back and look forward, and see what you did wrong, and making it better. That’s what I think.

“But I’m thankful for everything,” said Kawakami.

“I think that the first thing that I’m most thankful for is the generosity of my husband Charles, who has always allowed me to be my own person,” said Mayor Maryanne Kusaka.

“And, also, the trust of the greater community, that allowed this administration to do what was right for Kaua’i, in the right ways and for the right reasons,” she said.

“And, thirdly, I’m thankful for a wonderful, committed and loyal cabinet and staff, that made my vision a reality, which was to bring back the economy of this island,” Kusaka said.

“First of all, I could not have done this job without my husband allowing it. And then, I could not have gotten here without the support of the greater community.

“And, once I got here, I needed to have that loyal staff to make what I wanted for Kaua’i come true. It’s like building blocks, yeah? It starts with people allowing you to do things,” Kusaka said.

“Thankful I live on Kaua’i,” said state Rep. Mina Morita, a Hanalei Democrat who represents portions of east and north Kaua’i. “My family’s happy and healthy, and all the blessings I’ve received” are all things that she’s thankful for, she said.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at or 245-3681 (ext. 224).


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