LIHUE — The Community Coalition Kauai, in co-sponsorship with the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action, announces its series of candidate forums that will start Thursday.
“Our citizen group that is educating people on the county election is holding a mayoral candidate forum at Island School, Main Hall, Thursday from 6 to 8:30 p.m.,” said Ann Walton of CCK. “We have four Kauai County Council candidate forums scheduled for the month of July as well.”
Walton said the mayoral forum is being led by the CCK Millennial Team in co-sponsorship with HAPA following an April “Meet and Greet” session between 11 of the Kauai County Council candidates and nearly 80 members of the public.
“The primary mission of our Millennial Team is to reach out, educate and get young and first-time voters to the polls,” Walton said. “As such, our forums are ‘issue based.’ This means they are taking an in-depth look at the issues to better understand the candidates’ point of view on issues and their approaches to finding real and working solutions.”
Those who have filed for mayor include current councilmembers Mel Rapozo, JoAnn Yukimura and Derek Kawakami and parks director Lenny Rapozo. Others are Debra Kekauala, Ana Mo Des and Clint Yago.
All of the mayoral candidates have confirmed for Thursday’s forum except Yago.
The four Kauai County Council forums are each focused on a different theme that is chosen by the community where the forum is being hosted, Walton said.
Doors will open at 5:45 p.m. Thursday to allow the public to meet the candidates.
“This event is intended to be an informal session with an opportunity for more personal interaction with the candidates,” a CCK flier stated. “The format is similar to ‘speed dating.’ Each mayoral candidate will have their own roundtable, hosting a small group of participants.”
Each group will rotate at 15-minute intervals. Participants will have the opportunity to talk story with a different candidate until a full rotation is achieved. CCK believes that the informality and intimacy of working in small groups gives the community a sense of who each candidate is as a person, and an understanding of what is important to them.
Following the mayoral forum, CCK and its partners will host a series of in-depth, issue-based forums focusing on the Kauai County Council candidates’ positions on key challenges facing the island.
The format will mostly parallel that of the mayoral event, where the candidates will speak in a large group setting with three minutes to introduce themselves and answer at least two of the hosting community’s theme questions.
Following this, the group will break into smaller roundtable sessions where the public can pose questions pertaining to the theme.
The first forum will be held July 12 at the Koloa Neighborhood Center from 6 to 8:30 p.m.. Hosted by the Koloa Community Association, its theme will b “Meeting the Basic Infrastructure Needs and Rights of the Residents of Kauai.”
On July 18, CCK will co-sponsor a council forum with the Hanapepe-Eleele Community Association and Hui Hana Paakai at the Eleele Elementary School cafeteria from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The forum theme is “A Focus on Improving the Quality of Life in Hanapepe- Eleele.”
The third forum moves to Kilauea at the Anaina Hou Community Park, July 26 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Co-sponsored by Aina Hookupu o Kilauea, the Kilauea Neighborhood Association and Anaina Hou Community Park, the focus will be “Access to Affordable Housing for Residents.”
The fourth forum will be held on July 31 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Anahola Clubhouse with the co-sponsors and theme to be announced at a later date.
For information on the mayoral forum, contact Jesse Brown-Clay of CCK at 635-4732. For information on the County Council forums, contact Laurie Quarton of CCK at 346-0967.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.