LIHUE — Bob Bartolo was frustrated with traffic and finding labor for his business as he met with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard during “Tulsi in Your Town”at Ha Coffee Bar.
“The Kapaa Business Association has been fighting with traffic for the last 15 years,” Bartolo said. “I’m presenting you with the five points the Kapaa Business Association has discussed with our local and state officials. We can’t get them because of funding.”
Gabbard said funding is one of the areas Congress needs to tend to when it’s back in session. The recess allowed Gabbard the opportunity to visit Kauai, where she met with nearly 50 people.
“There are a number of funding bills which need attention, including one which will keep the government operating,” she said Wednesday. “Dealing with uncertainty is not healthy for government.”
Gabbard said another funding issue is the Zika virus.
“There has been 10 cases in Florida which have been spread by mosquitoes,” Gabbard said. “This is now an emergency, and the government has been called on to help eradicate the mosquitoes.”
The event had a light moment when Athena Abadilla, recipient of the YWCA of Kauai 2016 Young Woman Scholarship, waited patiently with Willy Miguel of the Club at Kukuiula.
“I always wanted to meet Tulsi in person,” Miguel said. “I voted for her, and I just wanted to see her in person.”
Abadilla said this is the first election she can vote in and Gabbard will be her pick.
“I just wanted to thank her for all the nice things she had to say when I got my YWCA award,” Abadilla said. “She has always been someone I looked up to, and I had to come.”
Gabbard announced she will be voting for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential election. She supported Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention.
“I’m proud to have been a part of Bernie Sanders’ historic campaign, and was honored to place his name in nomination at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday,” Gabbard said. “Now, given the remaining choices, I — like Bernie Sanders — will be casting my vote for Hillary Clinton. Moving forward, as a veteran and someone who knows firsthand the cost of war, I will continue to push for an end to counterproductive interventionist wars, and lead our country down a path toward peace.”
When asked about the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument expansion, Gabbard said she has been listening.
“I have not taken a stand on the issue,” Gabbard said. “There are valid issues on both sides. I have been listening, and I hope for a compromise which works for everyone.”
Gabbard also fielded notes of concern about housing when Bartolo expressed his frustration at trying to find labor from a field of people who were more concerned about how many hours they could work without jeopardizing their HUD and SNAP subsidies.
Another resident, Brent McWilliams, said he is in danger of being evicted from his place of residence for the past seven years.
“When my father was in college, student loans were free,” McWilliams said. “I’m now strapped with $38,000 in student loans and in danger of being evicted. We live in atmosphere of penalty for being poor.”