LIHUE — Ever since she was in high school, Tiana Laranio believed the best way to serve her community would be to run for political office.
The problem, however, was that she “felt intimidated and uninformed,” the 29-year-old Kapaa resident said.
That all changed, however, after she attended her 10-year class reunion and witnessed a series of events in her community.
Now, the Anahola-raised woman is seeking to make her mark on the island by running in this year’s election as a Kauai County Council candidate.
“A sense of urgency sparked my decision to run in this year’s election,” Laranio wrote in an email. “I am new to government and have much to learn, but I am an eager student, quick learner, and will apply myself with diligence and integrity to best represent our community. I believe it is important for young leaders to be involved in creating a more sustainable future.”
The County Council hopeful serves as a facilitator for The Waipa Challenge Course and board member on Kukulu Kumuhana O Anahola, a grassroots, community organization that seeks to prevent teen suicide.
After working two to four jobs for the last 13 years, and playing sports from the age of 5 through college, Laranio said she has “taken an absence of full-time employment to focus on my health and education.”
“Working in restaurants and tourism taught me hard work and service,” Laranio said. “At the end of the day, I was left unfulfilled and unhealthy and wanted to work more with community and youth.”
If elected, Laranio said she wants to work with island residents to “find viable solutions for improving our finances, building business,” and stimulating the local economy.
“The quality of life is affected by overwhelming financial burdens and access to food and nutrition,” Laranio said.
Another top priority, she added, is tackling “land and resource issues relating to food, water and waste management and improving the health and life of our community and environment.”
“If we can work together as a team and support each other in doing our parts, I believe that together we can build a stronger economy and increase the quality of life,” Laranio said. “I understand it’s not easy, but I welcome the challenges, the lessons and the growth. As I learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of our council, I will do my best to improve the system for the betterment of the democratic process.”