Evslin announces run for council

  • Contributed photo Luke Evslin

LIHUE — Luke Evslin filed his nomination papers Friday for the office of Kauai County Council.

The 33-year-old is a lifelong Kauai resident and graduate of Kauai High School and the University of Hawaii. Evslin is the co-founder and managing partner of Kamanu Composites, the Hawaii-based outrigger canoe manufacturing company. He lives in Kapahi with his wife Sokchea and their daughter Finley.

Evslin is active in the island’s outrigger paddling community and is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration with a focus on public policy.

Evslin said he believes the major challenges facing the island — housing costs, traffic, economic insecurity, and climate change — all have a common root in how land is used and developed. He says there are no instant solutions, but the County Council can and should make decisions that protect the island’s wild and agricultural areas while revitalizing town cores.

“The housing crisis affects everything,” Evslin said. “It rips apart families, as children are forced to move away; it harms our economy, as we all have less money to spend; it increases traffic and carbon emissions, as we commute long distances to work; and it is leading to an explosion in homelessness.”

“Subsidized housing and cracking down on illegal vacation rentals are necessary,” he continued, “but they are only part of the answer.”

Evslin emphasized the importance of encouraging development within existing towns — especially Lihue — by reducing regulatory burden for infill development, increasing the density of town cores, encouraging the construction of residential apartments on top of commercial spaces, and ensuring that homeowners can add ‘ohana units for family members or long-term renters.

“If we follow the principles outlined in our new General Plan,” he said, “we can avoid the sprawling, low-density, luxury subdivisions we’ve seen over the last decade. The county should require all future large-scale housing developments to be located within or beside existing towns and feature a mixture of home types, not just single-family homes, to maximize the number of people we can house while minimizing traffic.”

Evslin added that other markets have shown it’s possible to decrease the cost of housing while revitalizing communities through the development of livable, affordable, and walkable neighborhoods.

“To bring home prices down, we have to build more homes,” Evslin said. “But, we need effective policy to ensure that we do it in a way that increases everyone’s quality of life.”

Evslin is a paddling coach for Island School and Pu’uwai Canoe club and volunteers as a board member and treasurer of Malama Hule’ia. He was also a member of the Community Advisory Committee for the General Plan update, served as a commissioner on the Kauai County Open Space Committee, and worked as a columnist for Civil Beat.

  1. Steve Martin February 10, 2018 8:24 am Reply

    I’m glad you people who file nomination papers give us some insight on what you think it’s the best ways to go. You say “no instant solutions. You will fit in perfect with the status quo. You will need hard toe shoes so you can join in with the councils best tool kicking the cans. “Subsidized housing cracking down on vacation rentals”. Perfect just what we need another councilman to take more from our wallets to pay for those who don’t have the education to make enough money to survive and you expect us who work our okole’s off to pay for them so they don’t have to move and find a place they can afford. I won’t vote for people who want to tell me what I can and can’t do with my property. it’s none of your business It’s mine and not yours. How terrible. We don’t need a dreamer on the council. We need professional well educated experienced management that should be hired and not elected by a popularity contest. What you are telling us we have heard for decades and this is the reason we are where we are. You are only 33 and can’t possibly be a journeyman of experience to handle any seat at this point. Good luck you will need plenty of family and friends to get a seat because it’s the only option we have at this point.

  2. Steve Martin February 10, 2018 8:33 am Reply

    Sorry Mr.Evslin my mistake you don’t need journeyman’s experience, you will need a history of masters experience for this job if we are to truly move forward for the changes needed for this council job.

  3. Kathy Erwin February 23, 2018 9:16 pm Reply

    Luke is smart, passionate and articulate. Steve Martin, you have given him a taste of the negative attitudes he could be up against. Why not support him and allow him to use his gifts to work for Kauai? Anyone would be lucky to have Luke working on their behalf. Count your blessings.

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