LIHUE — Voters can learn about county council and mayoral candidate stances on the environment thanks to nine Kauai organizations posing a few questions.
Answers from 11 of 16 Kauai candidates are on the Kauai Surfrider Foundation’s website, with candidates weighing in on environment-related topics.
“We emailed each of them two times and called them two times,” said Laurel Brier, part of the group that forwarded the questions. “And we said failure to respond indicates a lack of importance they place on the issues.”
The group posing the questions was comprised of members of Surfrider Foundation Kauai Chapter, Kohola Leo, Malama Maha’ulepu, Kauai Women’s Caucus, Kauai Zero Waste Authority, Apollo Kauai, Kauai Group Sierra Club, Community Coalition Kauai and Malama Kauai.
Questions target things like the implementation of a Climate Action Plan, a ban on the sale and use of disposable polystyrene, zoning entitlements and affordable housing, local food production, water stewardship, solid waste management and nonprofit and agricultural tax brackets.
“This really benefits unknown candidates,” Brier said. “It’s a way to learn more about candidates and maybe discover some of the candidates you didn’t expect are environmental candidates.”
Each candidate was given the list of action statements to provide feedback on by checking a box indicating how they feel about the action statement — whether it’s championing the item, supporting it, opposing it, or being undecided.
Additional room was given for more comments on each topic.
“Some candidates just indicated their level of support and then left it at that, or gave one or two sentences,” Brier said. “Other candidates provided paragraphs and cited sources.”
Both mayoral candidates Derek Kawakami and Mel Rapozo answered the questionnaire.
Candidates who did not respond were county council candidates Arryl Kaneshiro, Kanoe Ahuna, Shaylene Iseri, Norma Doctor Sparks and Ross Kagawa.
“They all indicated they’d received them when we did the follow-up phone calls,” Brier said. “Norma Doctor Sparks asked to be excused as she is dealing with a family medical crisis.”
Brier pointed out that combined, the groups that put forward the survey have more than 3,000 Kauai people on their email lists and with the information on the Surfrider Kauai website, the hope is it will reach even more people on the island.
“People need to be informed and people need to vote,” Brier said. “If you’re not informed, call someone who is, learn which candidates you support.”