Kauai County Council
Tillage Operations Kauai County Councilmember and
I worked in a management position with Syngenta Hawaii, LLC.
I am currently a Kauai County Councilmemeber, elected in 2016
As a lifelong resident of Kauai I feel that I understand the past and present challenges our island faces. I have always been a member of Kauai’s working class and it’s important to me to bring that perspective to the Council. For many years I’ve been active as a community volunteer: homeless outreach through my church, assisting inmates transition to productive work in the community, as an umpire and announcer for youth sports, and with the County’s Life’s Choices Treatment Committee. As a father and grandfather I have a deep commitment to making sure our community remains safe, strong and resilient, and that there are opportunities for a bright future for the next generation.
Traffic/transportation issues, homeless/affordable housing, and supporting our youth are the three areas of biggest concern for me. The current council has provided additional revenues to deal with badly-needed road repair and improvements, as well as expansion of the Kauai Bus. We have also made important strides in housing, with the passage of the ARU bill which I proposed, progress on Lima Ola and Koae affordable housing projects, and the recently-introduced Bill 2687 designed to stimulate new housing development in the Lihue Town Core. Getting the Adolescent Treatment and Healing Center built after all these years is a huge achievement, but we have to do more to offer our kids healthy recreational choices, a first-class education, and access to higher education and vocational training that will help them be successful after high school. It’s going to take creative thinking and good relationships with many partners at the county, state and federal level to get these things done. We have to put the needs of our residents first and embrace a mindset of collaboration in everything we do or we won’t be able to accomplish any of these goals. In my first eighteen months on the Council I’ve worked hard at creating the relationships at the state and federal level to help us move forward on these priorities and more. I’ll continue to do that if re-elected.
I will continue to work to find more affordable housing options that can be implemented quickly, and programs to support eliminating homelessness in our community. One of my first initiatives as a councilmember was to co-sponsor an Island-Wide Additional Rental Unit (ARU) bill. The measure passed, and now allows the owner of every single-family residential dwelling unit that has adequate infrastructure to construct an ARU to provide for the housing needs of their own families. Another successful initiative was the County’s petition to the State Land Use Commission for the reclassification of the Lima Ola affordable housing project in 'Ele'ele as Kauai’s first approved 201H project. The 201H process assures the project will be 100 percent affordable and streamlines the process so that we can get units built much more quickly. We celebrated the groundbreaking for Koa'e, a 134-unit affordable housing project in Kōloa, but then suffered a devastating setback with the flooding disaster, which will compound the already severe housing shorting on Kauai. Much more has to be done, which is why I recently introduced Bill No. 2687. The measure proposes to increase allowed housing density on Rice Street. The intent of the bill is to stimulate the construction of more residential units in the Lihue Town Core area, where our General Plan encourages us to grow. Any new construction would be governed by the County’s affordable housing policy, which requires developments of 10 or more units to include a specified percentage of the project in affordable housing. Greater density allows for larger developments, and the larger the development the more affordable housing that’s required. Existing infrastructure in the area would support up to 250 new units along Rice Street if this bill is adopted. We would expect these housing units to be of the apartment or condominium type, providing diversity in new housing options beyond the traditional single-family homes.
It’s important to listen to the people of Kauai – especially the working people of Kauai who are struggling to make ends meet. Right now our economy is strong, but families still struggle with homelessness, drug addiction, domestic violence and many other challenges. Within our County government we have limited resources, but we have to be able to prioritize and re-prioritize as needs change. Simple things like keeping up with road maintenance, making sure our parks are clean and safe, and providing convenient and reliable bus service can make a big difference in the lives of the people of Kauai. Having a Council that is focused on identifying and funding the most important needs without overburdening taxpayers is the biggest challenge but one the Council must meet.
I’ve overcome many challenges from my younger years and had to make major changes in my life in order to succeed. I know from experience that you can turn things around if you put your mind to it. I’ve brought that same commitment and energy to the council, and I hope I can continue to do that if I’m re-elected. My experience as an umpire has instilled in me a strong sense of fair play. My goal is to be the voice for those who feel they have no voice. And I’ll insist we have respectful and constructive dialogue in all that we do.