Candidate Karen Baldwin profiled

LIHU‘E — With six small-scale hydroelectric projects, a 12-megawatt solar farm and an island-wide rollout of smart meters on the horizon, it’s arguably the most significant time in the history of the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative.

Nine co-op members are competing for three three-year seats on the board of directors in this year’s election.

To help introduce these candidates to the community, The Garden Island posed six questions to each. A different candidate’s responses are being published each day from Feb. 23 to March 2.

KIUC will mail member ballots on March 5. The deadline for members to cast their votes is March 24.

A co-op member can become an election candidate after being selected by the KIUC nominating committee or by submitting a petition with 35 signatures from co-op members.

In addition to second-term incumbents Steve Rapozo and Stewart “Stu” Burley, the Nominating Committee selected Lesther Calipjo, Joel Guy and Calvin Murashige for the ballot.

Candidates running by member petition include Joanne Georgi, Ken Stokes, Pat Gegen and Karen Baldwin.

TGI requested that the responses be limited to 100 words.

Karen Baldwin answers TGI’s questions.

Q: Why are you running for a seat on the Board of Directors?

A: My decision to run for the Board of Directors was inspired by my desire to create trust between the board and the members of KIUC and to help KIUC develop a credible strategic plan that addresses the long-term energy issues we face.

Q: Why do you believe you are the best choice for the board?

A: My experience as senior counsel for KIUC gives me a unique perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of the cooperative. I will bring a knowledge of and experience with KIUC that no other candidate can match.

Q: What should KIUC do to improve its services to members?

A: Improvement of member services must begin by recognizing that the members are the owners of the cooperative and deserve the kind of service and information to which owners are entitled. Management must be directed, and employees must be trained, to provide excellent service and complete information.

Q: What should KIUC do to help members reduce energy costs?

A: Members must be educated to save energy and be offered incentives to reduce energy consumption.

Q: If you could change one thing about the co-op, what would it be?

A: I would implement processes and procedures that assure open communication between the board and the members of KIUC. These include preparation and online publication of descriptive board meeting minutes including the votes of every director on every issue.

Q: Briefly, please describe your advanced education and most significant professional contributions that would be transferable to KIUC.

A: I obtained my bachelor of business administration degree from Southern Methodist University with a dual major in finance and quantitative analysis and my doctor of jurisprudence degree from the University of Denver College of Law. I have negotiated the financing of renewable projects, including a California waste-to-energy plant. I helped negotiate a power purchase agreement for KIUC and participated in the development of a biodiesel plant in Idaho. I have led strategic initiatives for numerous companies, including General Electric Information Systems, Lawrence Livermore National Lab and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

The Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce and Lihu‘e Business Association will co-host a candidate forum at 7:30 a.m. Thursday in Room 106 of the Office of Continuing Education and Training at Kaua‘i Community College.

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