One thing about Kauai politics, at least when it comes to the campaigning side in public, there’s very little mud-slinging and no name-calling. No big controversies have arisen. Sure, candidates disagree and debate points as they’ve done at the many public forums, but most stand on their own accomplishments. They state their own views and their own experience and qualifications as to why people should vote for them, rather than belittling their opponent. As it should be.
An exception arose this week, when postcards, we don’t know how many, arrived in some mailboxes blasting one candidate, tossing out an array of insults and accusations. We won’t mention which candidate or what these charges were, other than they were in poor taste and false. We hope that anyone who received these postcards does the only appropriate thing: Toss them in the trash where they belong.
As the campaign season winds down, there have been some testy exchanges. The race for the mayor’s office between Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and Dustin Barca has provided some fireworks at times. The most heated contest is the battle for the seven council seats. We have the incumbents, all running again, and a full lineup of seven challengers eager to step in. The council race could come down to some close calls as to who stays in office, and who is turned out. Kauai is a place that tends to elect people based on familiarity and name recognition, and in general, challengers face an uphill battle simply because they are not as well known. Yet, there has been a groundswell from some for fresh faces, upset with incumbents over tax increases and a swelling county budget. We’ll see how it plays out on Election Day.
The Garden Island, in case you were wondering, will not be endorsing candidates. While we did our best to provide you with information with which to make an informed vote, (candidate profiles, covering forums and publishing election guides offering questions and answers with candidates) we won’t tell you who we think should be in office. We’ll let you decide for yourself.
A few things we have learned this campaign season:
• All the candidates, incumbent and challengers, are dedicated to Kauai and want to lead it into the future, though not necessarily in the same direction.
• All candidates deserve kudos for running.
• Some candidates are surprisingly thin skinned.
• The tradition of sign waving lives on.
• Despite Hawaii’s reputation for voter apathy, there is strong voter interest in this election on Kauai and we expect a strong turnout.
We remind you that early voting in the general election continues this week and through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the basement of the Historic County Annex, 4386 Rice Street. The general election is Tuesday.
There is much at stake in this election — mayor, seven council seats, three legislative posts and governor — and we urge you to vote. It will affect your future and Kauai’s.