LIHUE — Kilauea resident Adam Roversi, 49, a deputy county attorney for the County of Kauai in the office’s litigation division, has filed to run for the County Council.
“The entire reason I went to law school in the first place, which was a second career for me, was because I wanted to work to make Kauai a better place and preserve the parts of it that I think are important,” he said.
As a lawyer for the county for the last 4 1/2 years, Roversi said he’s gotten an intimate view of how county government works, but his position doesn’t offer him many opportunities to make substantial changes.
“I’m hoping to take my experience working with the county and all I learned about how it works well and doesn’t work well and utilize those skills in a position that has a little more decision-making power,” he said.
Several of the biggest issues facing Kauai, Roversi said, are housing, traffic, the economy and the impact of tourism versus the availability of well-paying jobs for the local population.
The new General Plan that was just enacted is full of great ideas on improving Kauai through transportation, environmental protections and providing affordable housing, he said.
“But none of those good ideas will ever mean anything if there’s not a County Council in place to enact ordinances to put it into effect. Otherwise, it will just be a document that sits on a shelf for another 25 years, kind of like the last one did,” he said.
The General Plan, he said, provides a perfect opportunity to revamp the land use and zoning codes to allow for higher density development to areas that are already urbanized, which will cut down on infrastructure costs and the need for people to drive as much, because there will be more walk-able and drive-able neighborhoods where people’s jobs are.
“Through making those land-use changes, you can help with housing, you can alleviate traffic and hopefully through the development happens in those urban areas, promote economic growth,” he said.
Prior to obtaining his law degree, Roversi worked in Kilauea as an organic farmer, building contractor, cabinet-maker and furniture builder. He’s a member of the Hanalei Canoe Club, where he’s the men’s coach and is a regular participant, and sometimes serves as crew captain in the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association.
In his position as a deputy county attorney, Roversi has successfully represented the county in both state and federal court in more than 50 civil cases, and has represented the county in dozens of administrative proceedings.
As a councilmember, Roversi said he will work to preserve Kauai’s environment including the island’s open spaces, to honor and preserve the Hawaiian culture and the island’s agricultural and rural spaces, while providing opportunities to people who grow up here, so people who grow up here don’t have to move for opportunities.
“Why people should vote for me as a candidate has to do with my experience in county government and my experience as an attorney. I think I’m reasonably well suited to make a real change,” he said.
Bethany Freudenthal can be reached at 652-7891 or bfreudenthal@thegarden island.com