With a shockingly low voter turnout in Maui County, on Saturday 13th for the Primary elections, votes were still cast and seats still won. Some people suggest that voters have become so disillusioned by the American voting process that they just stayed home in protest. Whether that was a result of the current presidential race or the GMO moratorium, that was voted on in the last Maui elections, but is still being decided upon in the courts, no-one really knows.
These elections, this time around, are different though. There is a potential for great change if a certain group of candidates get elected. These candidates have been dubbed the Maui Ohana Candidates. What differentiates these candidates from the usual faces is that they are not backed by developers and big corporations, which is often sadly the way it works in Hawaii. These new candidates are stepping up in an attempt to steward Maui towards a more sustainable future and change the way politics is done, which unfortunately often includes back door deals and cronyism.
County Council Results:
All of the Maui Ohana candidates, bar Richard DeLeon (thank you Uncle Richard for your light), who conceded to another Ohana Candidate Kelly King, won access to the general election. That is a big success. But, it’s still an upward climb from here as people need to come to the polls and vote. In the general election two candidates run for each seat and are elected by all Maui County voters.
Wailuku Area- Alika Atay got 6,354 votes and will face ex-councilman Dain Kane who got 6,443 votes. That looks fantastic on paper, but the two other primary candidates Regan and Blackburn got a total of 10,466 votes. These votes are more likely to go to Dain. Alika exemplifies Aloha Aina. It is very important to have a strong Hawaiian voice on the council and Alika’s willingness to serve is a huge gift.
Makawao, Haiku, Paia – Trinette Furtado got 7,733 votes and will face Mike White, who got 13,328 votes. If she can get Alan Kaufman’s 2,650 votes, then Trinette’s score is at 10,383. Mike White has accomplished some great things on the county council. He helped solidify the money for the reconstruction of Giggle Hill and leads the charge against Mayor Arakawa. But, his strong ties with the tourist industry and development cannot unfortunately be overlooked.
Upcountry – Napua Greig Nakasone got 6,841 votes and will face Yuki Lei Sugimura who got 10,048. And it is likely that Napua will get the 4,945 votes that went to Stacey Moniz. That gives her an 11,786:10,048 advantage.
Kihei – Kelly King got 8,439 votes and will face Don Couch who got 11,305. Together with Richard DeLeon’s 3,121 votes and ‘Tiger’ Metcalfe’s 781, Kelly is ahead 12,341:11,305. Kelly is progressive, intelligent and connected, while Don Couch has shown many times that he makes decisions siding with developers and big ag, rather than the people.
The primary results on August 13th pretty much decided these elections, as it is normally the democratic candidate that gets the seat. With a big win for Kaniela Ing (2,117:1,219) after a hard fought campaign (with some even adding an ill fought campaign by his opponent Tegarden), many people were relieved to still have Kaniela Ing representing them. Kaniela is one of the most progressive Senate House representatives who supports the GMO moratorium, pesticide buffer zones and clean beaches.
Sadly for Maui environmentalists Tiare Lawrence lost by just a few votes (2,411:2,763) to Kyle Yamashita, but that was an amazing feat for a newcomer. Kyle Yamashita, who many see waving solo on Hana Highway, introduced the controversial HB2501, better known as the water theft bill, that was signed in by Governor Ige. His bill diverts water away from East Maui farmers to A&B land in central Maui, and is a great example of profits over people and total disrespect of traditional farming and Hawaiian culture.
Joe Souki also got re-elected, which will just continue the old boy network’s strong hold.
However, the general election will also give voters in Haiku, Hana, Kaupo, Kipahulu, Nahiku, Paia, Kahoolawe, Lanai, and Molokai the historic opportunity to elect a Green Party state representative! Good chances indeed: Nikhilananda has a strong foothold in his community, as evidenced by his County Council races – and he really understands politics!
We’ll likely see twice as many voters in the general election on Nov 8. That increase in participation may bring out different voters than this time and especially more for the Ohana candidates.
If these candidates can get elected it will change the course of history as decisions and policies made in the next 2-4 years, especially regarding land use of the former sugarcane fields, will change Maui forever!
This is our chance to preserve and protect Maui while importantly having sustainable growth.
Here are the important next dates:
Voter Registration Deadline: October 10, 2016
General Election: November 8, 2016
Please get up and vote. The future of Maui and what this island will be like for your children and grandchildren depend on it. To find out more go to www.votemaui.org
*Even though Richard Deleon did not win the primary, he will always be a winner in the eyes of many of us, which is why the image of the Maui Ohana Candidate flyer used in this article was not changed.
Image Credit: www.votemaui.org