Fixing ‘the black pipe’

Fixing “the black pipe” that comes down into Waimea Valley and providing water for the taro farmers has always been a priority of Rep. Dee Morikawa — from the days when she worked for the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

“When I was with Parks and Rec, we were tasked with trying to fix the pipe,” Morikawa said. “It was later learned that it was a function of the state’s Dept. of Land and Natural Resources. One of my first priorities as a legislator was to get $50,000 to fix the pipe, and another $10,000 to maintain it. Now that the water is flowing well, the Menehune Ditch is becoming overgrown and overflowing, resulting in erosion to the road and Waimea River. Another $200,000 was recently funded to take care of that situation. Additionally, the entire Kekaha irrigation system will get $5 million for upgrades and improvements which, I hope, will mitigate any concerns about pollution and pesticide runoff. The real beneficiaries of this project will be the Kekaha residents who will not have to suffer another bad flood because these ditches will be well-maintained.”

Daynette “Dee” Morikawa is seeking her fourth two-year term as a state House representative for District 16, covering the Westside of Kauai, Niihau, and Lehua. She was first elected to office in 2010 after working with the County of Kauai for 35 years.

Her involvement with politics goes back to her days at Kapaa High School, where she attended after moving to Kauai in 1974 to be with her mother, Elaine Taira, who was one of Gov. George Ariyoshi’s campaign organizers.

Morikawa is 60 years old.

If re-elected to the state House, Morikawa has plans on additional school buildings and improvements on the Westside.

Morikawa said Kauai legislative districts are divided into three fairly even populations, and it is reasonable to draw the school lines the same way. This would result in bringing up the enrollment numbers for Waimea High School.

“Our middle school can accommodate more students as well,” she said. “The Waimea Canyon Middle School will get a covered court similar to the other middle schools with funding of about $3 million. There are public preschools at Eleele and Kekaha, and at Kekaha Elementary, all students will have free lunch because of income eligibility for that community. Parents should not be ashamed to apply for federal or state assistance. If they qualify, they help the whole community in receiving free meals for all the students.”

Morikawa said that while there a lot of other projects looming on the horizon, two items “jump to the top of my list.”

“These are the monument expansion, and the hunting area closure on Department of Hawaiian Homes Land,” she said. “We are in heavy discussion with our fishing advocates, state leaders, Hawaiian Civic Club associations, and others in how we can preserve the state’s right to control all the waters around the state. Since we are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, many surrounding ocean areas are for Hawaii to use for sustainability, and we should govern that, not the Federal government.”

“As far as the hunting grounds are concerned, we need to discuss land exchanges for DHHL so they can get better land that can be easily developed and allow more families to achieve their dream home,” Morikawa said. “In the meantime, hunting will be allowed for another year until a resolution can be found.”

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