Tune in for county council forum Wednesday

LIHU‘E — Tomorrow, 13 of the 14 candidates running for a seat on the Kaua‘i County Council will take the stage, er, virtual stage, for another round of questions at one of the only forums to this election season.

In the spirit of social distancing, the event will be available to watch on the Community Coalition of Kaua‘i’s Facebook, Ho‘ike 53 and on KKCR at 5:30 p.m., candidates will focus on climate action and “building a resilient, regenerative Kaua‘i.”

Candidates were provided the following list of three questions in advance to have time to prepare responses.

• What bold ideas and legislative action do you propose for moving us towards a decarbonized, more equitable island society guided by the principles of aloha ‘aina?

• What planning and action would you initiate in the next two years, while on the council, to address these effects of climate change on Kaua‘i County and its communities?

• Identify specific ways the County of Kaua‘i can reduce its own contribution to greenhouse gas emissions; and identify mandated or incentivized approaches for local businesses, industries, residents and visitors to reduce theirs as well?

Prior to each round, community members will share educational presentations, introducing the topics before candidates have a chance to speak.

“It’s an opportunity for people to learn,” co-coordinator Laurel Brier said.

Outside of the three required questions, Brier said each candidate will also take on a targeted question based on a previous statement, stance or action they’ve made in the past. These “surprise” questions will be inserted between each round at random.

Brier said the last two forums brought in over 9,000 viewers, with a sustained 5,000 people on Facebook, with more listening in via KKCR and Ho‘ike. In the past, Brier said, a good in-person crowd would be around 200 residents.

Instead of closing statements, participants will share a brief statement on how they are reducing their own carbon footprints.

Participating candidates: Jade Wai‘ale‘ale Battad, Addison Bulosan, Bernard Carvalho Jr., Mason Chock, Felicia Cowden, Mike Dandurand, Billy De Costa, Luke Evslin, Richard Fukushima, Ed Justus, Arryl Kaneshiro, KipuKai Kuali‘i and Wally Nishimura. As of Monday, Shirley Simbre-Medeiros was the only unconfirmed candidate.

Candidates are running for one of seven spots, including incumbents Chock, Cowden, Evslin, Kaneshiro and Kuali‘i.

In addition to the Community Coalition of Kaua‘i, the forum is co-sponsored by Kaua‘i Climate Action Coalition, Surfrider Foundation of Kaua‘i, Community Coalition for Kaua‘i, Zero Waste Kaua‘i and the Kaua‘i Women’s Caucus.

General Election ballots will be mailed out Oct. 9, according to the state’s Office of Elections, and must be received by the clerk’s office by 7 p.m. on Election day, Nov. 3.


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