County council race takes shape

A steady stream of candidates vying for seats in several county and state offices continues to trickle in as the deadline to file nomination papers approaches.

The only contested county race at this point is the seven seats up for grabs on the Kaua‘i County Council.

As of Friday, eight residents from Lihu‘e to Anahola had pulled papers at the Historic County Building, but only four have officially filed to run for the local legislative body.

Prospective candidates for all races have more than two months to meet the July 22 filing deadline. The primary is Sept. 20, and the general election is Nov. 4.

“For the democratic process to work, there needs to be good, robust choices,” Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura said. “I always encourage people to consider running. But it’s not only getting on a soap box, it’s about being responsible and doing your homework and offering a good choice to the community.”

Yukimura, a former mayor, said she intends to seek re-election to the council. But she, like several others who have announced plans to run in the nonpartisan race, has not yet filed at the county Election Division office on Rice Street in Lihu‘e.

“We have a very active and concerned community,” Yukimura said. “I’ve always loved my work, but there are hard parts — contention, misunderstanding, real intolerance of different opinions — that doesn’t make the job easier.”

Councilmen Tim Bynum and Mel Rapozo as well as Joseph Ka‘auwai, Derek Kawakami, Leslie Kuali‘i, Bob Cariffe, Thomas Leighton and Christobel Kealoha have pulled papers to run for council. Rapozo, Kuali‘i, Cariffe and Kealoha have filed.

The filing process started Feb. 1.

Beyond the council race, three of the four incumbents serving at the state Legislature have pulled papers to seek re-election. They are Sen. Gary Hooser, D-Kaua‘i/Ni‘ihau; and Reps. Hermina Morita, D-14th District, and Roland Sagum, D-16th District. The trio faced no opposition as of Friday.

Democratic Rep. James Tokioka’s 15th District seat is also up for election this year.

Councilwoman Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho is the only candidate who has filed to run for county prosecuting attorney.

Seats on the state Board of Education and Office of Hawaiian Affairs will also be on the November ballot. Margaret Cox of Lihu‘e has pulled papers to run for a position on the school board. Anahola resident Arthur Defries has pulled papers to serve as an OHA trustee.

At the federal level, the seats of U.S. Reps. Neil Abercrombie, D-1st District, and Mazie Hirono, D-2nd District, are up for election. The terms are two years with no limit.

Three candidates have pulled papers to run for the District 2 congressional seat, which includes all the Neighbor Islands and parts of O‘ahu surrounding Honolulu. They are Republicans Roger Evans and I Am, and nonpartisan Elizabeth Stone — all Hilo residents.

The last day to register to vote in the primary is Aug. 21. The last day to register to vote in the general election is Oct. 6.

Voters can start requesting mail-in absentee ballots on July 22.

For more information, visit www.kauai.gov or call the county Elections Division office at 241-6350.

• Nathan Eagle, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or neagle@kauaipubco.com.

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