LIHUE — Kauai County Councilman Ross Kagawa admits the past year and a half has been a tough one.
Kagawa relents that not every issue that has come across the County Council’s table has swung in his favor — some of them, Kagawa said, have passed by a 5-2 vote with he and fellow Councilman Mel Rapozo casting the dissenting votes.
But that’s OK, Kagawa said.
“I feel like I’m a voice for a lot of the middle-class, poor people,” the 48-year-old Lihue resident said during a brief County Council meeting respite. “I want to continue to be that voice — the middle-class public servant that listens and gets back to those people because I think their voices go unheard a lot of the time.”
It was a factor that, Kagawa said, prompted him to file his nomination papers for his first council term in 2012 and is, once again, the reason why he is choosing for run in this year’s election to hold his seat on the seven-member board.
“I feel like I have a lot of unfinished business,” Kagawa said.
Though there are a number of capital improvement projects he would like to push for, such as conducting repairs at the 0.19-acre Hanapepe Heights Park, Kagawa said there is an even greater need to get the county on more financially stable ground.
“I did not want to push for a project that did not come from the administration because I feel like, if I push one of those projects forward, I might be using money that might not be intended to be spent and that’s a waste if you appropriate and they don’t do it,” Kagawa said. “When times are good, you can appropriate capital improvement projects, and if they get to it, great.”
The way to get the county in a better financial position, he said, is “for us to take a serious look at cutting out areas that perhaps can be trimmed and I guess trimmed a lot.”
“I believe this gives us a unique opportunity, this year, to give voters a chance to perhaps elect a few new council members,” Kagawa said. “I feel excited and I’m kind of looking forward to the results. I hope I make it, but if I don’t, I hope there’s still a chance to instill the changes that I was looking for — one that, I think, brings in more responsible spending by this county and less burden, like new taxes and new fees, on the public, especially when we’re still not fully out of the recession.”
Kagawa will square off against 19 County Council candidates, including six other incumbents, in this year’s Aug. 9 primary election.
The last day to register to vote in this year’s primary election is July 10.