Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023 |
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Kudos to KipuKai Kualii. The former councilman was the first challenger to file his nomination papers to run in this year’s Kauai County Council election race. We hope many more like him step up. Not to say that we believe the council hasn’t done its job well. We just believe it’s a good sign when people are willing to run for office. It means they care. It means they’re not willing to stand on the status quo. It means they’re passionate about where they live.
If challengers don’t step forth, it could mean the public is satisfied with the performance of incumbents. Or, it could mean they don’t care. Apathy. Or, it could mean they think their odds of unseating an incumbent are about as good as winning Powerball — and Hawaii doesn’t even have Powerball.
No doubt, a challenger has his or her work cut out for them. Under the Kauai County Charter, all County Council seats are elected at-large and selected in order by the highest number of votes in nonpartisan county elections. That makes it more difficult for a challenger — one new name on the same list as established council members — than elections by district, in which a challenger could go up against a specific council member and argue their case.
The seven County Council positions are now held by Mason Chock Sr., Jay Furfaro, Mel Rapozo, Ross Kagawa, Tim Bynum, JoAnn Yukimura and Gary Hooser. None of them has yet indicated whether they plan to run again, but it’s safe to assume they will. No hurry. The last day for candidates to file nominations papers is June 3, according to the Office of the County Clerk’s Elections Division.
The mayor’s post, too, is up for election. It will be interesting to see if anyone takes on Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., assuming he plans to run again. It would take a well-funded, well-organized effort, and a well-known candidate to pose a serious challenge to the popular Carvalho, who has been in office for two terms. It would have to be someone with a lot of guts, too.
These jobs, by the way, offer pretty good pay and benefits.
Carvalho is paid $114,490, according to county Salary Commission documents.
The annual salary for council members, according to county Salary Commission documents, is $56,781. The council chair’s salary is $63,879.
But as any elected official will tell you, it’s not about the money. It’s about serving their community. We encourage anyone considering a run for public office to do so. Win or lose, Kauai becomes a better place when elections are contested.
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