LIHUE — Former County Council member and former prosecuting attorney Shaylene Iseri has filed to run for the council again.
One of the reasons the Lihue woman said she’s running for office is so that her two children, and all keiki, can realize their dream of returning to Kauai after college.
“We always talk about not just surviving, but thriving and that’s kind of how I feel, that’s what I want to try to bring in the kind of experience I have, the skills I have to make sure that I did everything possible to make the next generation be better than what we’ve had,” she said.
Because of her experience as an attorney, having the ability to look at both sides of an issue allows her to see different perspectives. Iseri, 54, said she can bring this ability to the council.
“It’s mostly working class families that are struggling to make ends meet and that really makes me think, am I doing everything possible so my kids can have a future here, with the type of experiences that I’ve been blessed with and come in contact with?” she said.
“We want everybody to have a better life, we want everybody to be happy, we want everybody to feel safe and I think that’s a common goal we all have, no matter what your background may be,” she said.
For 12 years, Iseri was Kauai’s prosecuting attorney. Currently, she is a defense attorney and practices family law. Fighting crime on Kauai is something Iseri is passionate about.
“I’ve seen it day in and day out and I see a lot of neighbor disputes,” she said.
These issues, she said, have to do with the breakdown of family and values.
“Hawaiians especially have all of these Hawaiian names, like kuleana, taking care, loving their neighbor more than you love yourself, making sure when you go to the ocean you only take what is necessary and not over, so you don’t take more than you need, you share whatever you have,” she said.
She wants to see Kauai return to a place where residents can live in a loving and trusting environment. If bringing those values back to our community becomes a priority, the sub-categories, such as affordable housing and preservation of the environment, will fall into place, she said.
“All of that leads up to your certain sense of values and expectations and if we brought that more in a public way as opposed to people knowing it from growing up and not having it implemented, I think it will move perhaps, the culture,” she said.
Kauai is a beautiful island and has unique qualities, she said, a rich culture that has struggled and gone through tribulations.
“What do we stand for as an island, what do we want, what kind of a message do we want to send to our visitors and what kind of message do we want to send to our children?” she said.