LIHU‘E — Ballots will be mailed out for Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative’s board of directors election within the next week.
Three of the nine director seats are up for election in March. The deadline to vote is March 14 at noon, and three out of four candidates are incumbents — Jim Mayfield, Allan Smith and Dee Crowell. The fourth candidate in the election is Steve Parsons.
Smith has served on the KIUC board for five, three-year terms. He resides in Lihu‘e and was born and raised on Kaua‘i, in Kekaha. He is a Kamehameha Schools and University of Hawai‘i graduate. Smith is also a retired executive of Grove Farm Company who served as an interim director for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. His goals include a focus on transportation sustainability and encouraging the younger generation to get involved with KIUC.
“KIUC is owned by the people. It’s ours, it’s yours, it’s mine. We encourage the younger working generation to get involved, to sacrifice their time to participate. It’s very important. Most of us getting old. I am willing to pass the torch to the younger generation,” Smith said.
Crowell resides in ‘Ele‘ele and has served two terms on the KIUC board. He is a University of Southern California architect graduate and a retired planning director for the County of Kaua‘i. He credits the success of KIUC to the staff and members. His focus is on renewable energy and setting attainable goals.
“In 2008, Derek Kawakami was head of strategic planning (on the KIUC board). One of the goals was to hit 50% renewable energy by 2023. Back in 2008 we were like, ‘what?’ But things fell into place and we hit our goal three years early. If you don’t set a goal, you won’t hit it,” Crowell said.
Mayfield, a Lihu‘e resident, is one of the founding members of KIUC. A retired banker, Mayfield was president of the Kaua‘i United Way board during Hurricane ‘Iniki in 1992.
“In the beginning no one understood what co-op was, and so even though I was a founder of it, I didn’t get elected the first time. But now through the ballots it helps people understand what a co-op is. It’s an organization operated by the people and is owned by the people,” Mayfield said.
Parsons is the only non-incumbent candidate. He first came to Kaua‘i in 2001, working as a social worker for state Child Protective Services, and moved to the island in 2015. He has his master’s degree in clinical psychology. Because of his experience he believes he would be able to serve the community through compassion.
“I’m really good at meeting people where they are at and listen to their concerns,” Parsons said. “I also would like to see KIUC be more transparent. Eventually people will want to know what’s going on.”
All candidates agree on promoting a focus in KIUC toward renewable energy, environmental sustainability and transportation sustainability. They all encourage young folks to get involved with KIUC through their different platforms and attend the nomination committee meetings.
All three of the incumbents said they have an open-door policy, and do not mind folks coming up to them to ask them questions.
According to KIUC representative Shelley Paik, there are 26,259 KIUC voting members. All members should be getting ballots in their mail boxes in the coming week.
There are three ways to vote:
w Return the ballot in the envelope provided;
w Vote online at www.mrgvote.com. Enter the access code printed on your reply envelope, and verify your identity;
w Vote by telephone using a touchtone phone by calling: 877-778-KIUC, enter the access code printed on your reply envelope, and verify your identity.
Between the three incumbent candidates, if re-elected they would be serving on the board for between three and five terms.
Stephanie Shinno, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0424 or email@example.com.