Politics, Coffee, Conversation

LIHUE — Kauai County Council Chair Mel Rapozo said this was his favorite coffee hour, and Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar wore the lei he was presented during his last political coffee hour four years ago.

Nineteen political candidates from the state legislative offices, Kauai County Council, and prosecuting attorney attended a political coffee hour Tuesday morning at the Lihue Neighborhood Center.

“The seniors are a very special part of the community, and it is a joy to work for them when they call,” Rapozo said.

Seniors listened to three-minute presentations from each candidate.

Sandi Combs, a candidate for State Representative, District 14, said she took leave from her class to attend.

“Are you kidding?” she said. “I want to be here. I considered it an honor to be asked to participate and I come because I honor them.”

For many, the coffee hour was a way to connect to the history of the island.

“This site has a special place in my heart,” said Derek Kawakami, candidate for Kauai County Council. “My mom was a part of the Monday Line Dancing group here, and I always enjoyed stopping by and dancing with the aunties.”

Matt Bernabe, a candidate for Kauai County Council, took the opportunity to explain why he is a Portuguese with a Filipino name, and Arryl Kaneshiro, a Kauai County Council member seeking re-election, was mobbed for his yellow rice paddles following the presentations.

“This is the first time I’ve been able to attend this coffee hour,” said Naoko Ho of the Waimea Senior Center. “This was good. I’m glad I came.”

The Kauai Chamber of Commerce sponsors the next political forum, Thursday at the Kapaa Neighborhood Center with the doors opening at 5 p.m. and the forum starting at 5:30 p.m.

Chris Gampon will moderate the presentation which includes candidates for State Representative, District 14, Prosecuting Attorney, and Kauai County Council.

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