Questions Asked of the Candidates

1.  What should be the County Council’s priorities in addressing the economic impacts of COVID-19?

Addison Bulosan
There are several opportunities for the county council in the next few years that can continue our growth out of COVID-19 beginning 2021 with the new compilation of county council members. Each of my recommendations are going to be my focus and will be worked on simultaneously if elected. First, we learned that telework is a huge part of our workforce and kept many businesses and workers going throughout these difficult times. This includes many county workers across all departments and is creating more efficiency in our systems. So we must continue this momentum and continue to create or modify policies to enable both our county government and our local businesses to be able to innovate and utilize technology (telework, software systems, etc.) to be able to continue doing business. Part of this includes a collaboration with state, county, federal, and private interests in securing our broadband capabilities for Kauai so that we have consistent and high speed broadband internet. It is apparent that our local families that had to move away for high tech jobs learned that they can telework from home as well and that potentially would love to move back home if their work was secure. Secondly, we must continue to focus on executing the Tourism Strategic plan created by KVB and other partners at a rapid pace. In this plan the focus is on quality guests and systems in place that allow for guests to interact with our environment in a way that doesn’t over extend our resources. There are several initiatives and policies within the strategic plan I’d like to work on such as helping local businesses utilize sustainable practices, develop shuttle systems in high visitor areas, including visitor fees for county resources, and support the short range transit plan. Thirdly, my priority would be to look at policies that can enable our community to become food sustainable from agriculture to consumer. We learned in this pandemic how quickly we adapted the agriculture and food market by introducing CSA boxes, local ingredient utilization in businesses, and business systems that enable online ordering. We’ll need to continue to drive this innovation and collaboration at a rapid pace that will allow our conversion of local business in agriculture and food to continue to keep the local dollar circulating and empowering local businesses and consumers to buy and choose local products.

Bernard Carvalho Jr
Working closely and supporting the administration in enforcement and implementation of all health and safety rules and regulations. We need to seek solutions and resources to address the “New Normal” way of caring for our people, our visitors and our lsland home. During COVID-19, tourism has been brought to a standstill in Hawaii. Investments that will make tourism stronger, smarter, and more resilient than before are needed now as we rebuild our economy.

Mason Chock
The county’s priority in addressing the economic impacts of COVID-19 are to first ensure our residents health is cared for. This not only includes their financial stability to secure basic needs such as food and shelter, but also to assist with mental health needs for those most at risk. The county will have to assist the public in adapting to the new safety protocols in place in a clear and sensitive way. The county council should follow through on the Kauai Economic Recovery Strategy Teams recommendations and leverage the capital within our community stakeholders to achieve its identified action items. In addition, the county will need to be strategic in applying current federal Cares Act funding and any future funding that may become available. The council will need to work closely with our mayor, state legislature and Kauai state delegation to ensure priority projects are supported and completed such as our housing initiatives and road repairs. This will need to include addressing our unfunded liabilities and budget shortfalls in order to maintain services to the community. This will require us to make cuts where feasible and do more with less. Along with stringent budget management, must find creative opportunities to support new and existing businesses wherever possible in solidifying an emerging circular economy.

Felicia Cowden
Council priorities need to assist the economic stability of our citizens through avoiding policies which cause further instability and assisting where possible. The mayor’s administration has held tight control of most all decision making beyond budget approval. We can use our influence to encourage strategies to continue protection of our most health-vulnerable population while allowing most businesses to resume their function and allow them to effectively adapt to changes in our marketplace.

Mike Dandurand
Our first priority in the business community is to support local businesses and help them get back on their feet. We need to assist tourist-driven businesses to redirect sales and services within the local community, and we need to use social media and on-line promotions to support locally-owned businesses. Keep Kaua’i’s money on Kaua’i and support a circular economy.

Luke Evslin
In my opinion, the most important way to stabilize our economy and provide a foundation for it to come back is to prioritize health and safety. As we can see with states and cities beginning to shut down again on the mainland due to rising case counts, the only way that we’ll have any economy is to keep our COVID-19 numbers low. Most indicators show that we have somewhere around six months before we can expect viable therapeutics and a vaccine. There is no easy path through these next six nightmarish months but we need to take every measure we can to keep roofs over people’s heads, food in their refrigerator, and to keep as many small businesses alive as possible. To do that, I fully support the County’s utilization of federal stimulus moneys to provide small business grants as well as non profit grants for those organizations that can ramp up employment to help fill needed gaps such as mental health services and agricultural infrastructure. From a budgetary perspective, it’s important to continue to prioritize keeping as much of our county expenditures local as possible—which means cutting any money that flows off island first, while prioritizing social service support programs and grants in aid. Lastly, going forward into the next budget cycle, I will continue to urge and support the county taking advantage of low interest bonds or municipal liquidity facilities to invest in infrastructure—which is a strong form of local stimulus.

Ed Justus
Revitalizing our diversified agriculture is one important way. We can incentivize this lowering property tax for ag lands being actively used for or beginning diversified ag, and creating a higher “vacant ag land” property tax to offset the incentive (as other counties have already done). Also, offering installation of water infrastructure (a critical start-up cost). Active diversified ag begins to create an internal economy, and creates opportunities for new value-added businesses to start.

Arryl Kaneshiro
Our priorities should be keeping our residents safe, protecting our budget, and stimulating our economy to bring the island back to a new normalcy. Protecting the health and safety of our residents is of the utmost importance. Kauai has done a great job and in many instances, we led the State with our proactive approach to dealing with the virus and it paid off. Our island experienced the lowest number of active cases in the State, minimal community spread, and no deaths. Keeping a balanced budget and maintaining our reserve will be especially important. Not spending beyond our means and being disciplined with our reserves allows us to appropriate resources where it is needed, gives us the flexibility to react and address extraordinary storm events and endure the current economic downturn we are experiencing, ensuring that the county will be viable for future generations. As we attempt to slowly open up the economy, we need to be diligent in how we deal with incoming travelers. Travel will be the most likely means of contracting and spreading COVID-19 on island. We also need to focus on our infrastructure and funnel newly available emergency State and Federal monies to upgrade our dated infrastructure. Doing so will not only create construction jobs now, but will also stimulate further private investment along the upgraded infrastructure.

KipuKai Kualii
Firstly, we should continue working closely with the Mayor and his Administration to ensure that our County, one of Kaua`i’s largest employers, is fully operational, with our staff employed and providing all core services to our people. We should also continue working with the Administration and community partners to implement the 45 economic recovery strategy recommendations developed with teams of community leaders from our different economic sectors. We also must work diligently to ensure any and all relief or stimulus funds received are spent responsibly and efficiently.

Wally Nishimura
Getting the people of Kauai back to work and diversify the economy.

Jade Waialeale Battad
The impacts of this epidemic are huge. We are still identifying some of the impacts. Clearly, first we need to keep roofs over people’s heads, and to ensure nutritional and medical needs are addressed. The council should review local tax policy and consider the repeal of legislation that inhibits economic recovery and eventual expansion. Many of our regulatory, planning and permitting functions are outdated and in some ways punitive. The economy touches all of us. There is far more to be done here. There are many good ideas for putting our community on a more sustainable path, and we should be reviewing the whole range of them.

2.  What is your vision for a thriving agricultural economic sector on Kauai?

Addison Bulosan
My vision is that our island becomes food independent by utilizing up to 80% local agricultural products in our institutions and restaurants by 2022. My vision for the agricultural sector is all about looking at the whole system from farmer to consumer and making sure we continue to adapt the system to be more efficient and streamlined at all levels. As the owner of Tasting Kauai, Kauai’s only food tour company that solely promotes local chefs and restaurants that use local ingredients, we work on creating the demand for local products produced by our agriculture businesses. I’m looking at adopting, creating, or removing policies that helps this whole process so that we can reach this vision for agriculture to be thriving. With all that said, we have existing movements that I’m excited to continue to support, such as Waipa foundation, Kilauea Ag Park, Go Farm Hawaii, Malama Kauai and several more agricultural movements that are finding success. I’d love to support and grow what Waipa Foundation’s collaboration with Kamehameha schools where they are utilizing traditional Hawaiian agricutlural systems to create more efficient food production. I’d love to support and grow what Kilauea Ag park is doing, which is enabling the community and connecting people back with their role in agriculture. I want to continue to support Go Farm Hawaii program that teaches real life lessons for future farmers from soil to business. Last but not least, I want to continue support the efforts of Malama Kauai and the programs they have in helping farmers and consumers bridge the gap for local food. There are more organizations to mention and peices to work on and my hope is that we continue to collaborate and look at policies that develop the sustainable growth of local food production that are community needs.

Bernard Carvalho Jr
I support the current Kauai Agricultural Committee who provides advice and assistance in the formulation and conduct of agricultural programs on Kauai. It is our responsibility as council members to also reach out and support existing programs like the Future Farmers of America program for students, initiation and support of farm to school projects and also the 75 acre agricultural park in Kiluaea (Aina Ho’okupu O Kilauea), which needs to be continued with the same agricultural footprint in other communities on our Island.

Mason Chock
My vision is that we have a fully integrated farming community that is working cohesively to maximize resources to ensure food sustainability on Kauai and preserving our rural island character. I see a new generation of farmers bridging knowledge from our ancestors as well as utilizing the newest technology to support a circular economy that honors our values and perpetuates the viability of our limited resources. The county will need to support infrastructure needs such as access to water, housing and processing facilities to ensure we have the ability to export our products. The county along with our whole business community will seek ways to assist distribution of local made produce and added value products to assist the farmers workload. In addition, the coordination of food distribution across the island from both small and larger farms will serve those in most need such as our kupuna and youth programs. This includes a more comprehensive farmers market program which would include reinstating the EBT program and working with our local restaurants to co-create economic opportunities. As an example, I want to extend EBT services so food providers and restaurants who are using local produce for takeout and meals can be supported by those in need and in turn helping to boost our suffering economy. In all, we need our agricultural community working together, sharing best practices and resources.

Felicia Cowden
A thriving agricultural economic sector would support branding Kauai for locally-based food production across the range of food provision, stores, restaurants and delivered meal kits. Develop specialty export products such as locally high-quality, organic nutrition supplements and therapeutic herbs. Offering shared resources, marketing and allowing for simple, farm-worker housing is essential. Retailing products space on farms should be allowed.

Mike Dandurand
Our localized economy can be improved with a thriving agricultural economic sector. I envision 4-5 major food hubs located conveniently in our population centers and providing only locally-grown produce and products. I believe we can support these local food hubs with creation of a farmer’s network online system for orders and delivery.

Luke Evslin
A thriving agriculture sector on Kaua’i would consist of both small and large farms. To even begin to reverse the decline in farming on Kaua’i, we need to reduce development pressure on ag land. As long as agricultural lots are competing on the luxury housing market, very few new farmers will be able to have either the access to capital or the revenue necessary to pay off a mortgage. Reducing development pressure of agricultural land has to remain a key priority of the County’s, and that means ensuring that we are shifting new housing development to within and around our existing town cores to reduce demand for housing on agricultural lots, ensuring that homes built on agricultural land are actually producing crops, and not increasing density through ADU allowances (which increase the value of land). It’s also vital to reduce the barriers to entry for farmers by changing our zoning code to allow for limited retail operations on agricultural land to allow for farm stands.

Ed Justus
We have so much potential here. Kauai can grow enough food to not only feed our island, but we could feed the entire island chain. Whatever we cannot consume, we can export with the valuable Hawaii & Kauai branding name. In addition to food, we can grow other highly sought-after materials. We also have the benefit of a year-round growing season, fertile soils, and plentiful rainfall. We must categorize agriculture as critical infrastructure due to our geographic isolation for public safety.

Arryl Kaneshiro
A thriving agricultural economic sector consists of a variety of farms and ranches of all sizes and types. Farming would range from large seed corn companies and Kauai Coffee to smaller farms producing products for grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers markets. Both large and small farms would work together to share resources such as infrastructure improvements, machinery, and knowledge. I would love to see our products marketed and sold off-island. Ranching would consist of raising livestock for both the local market and exported to the mainland as Kauai grown beef. There needs to be a lot more tolerance towards agriculture. We hear a lot about people wanting to protect and preserve agriculture. You hear the terms grow what we eat, buy local, eat local, support your local farmer, but there is a big push to fight water for agricultural use, to oppose new agricultural ventures, and to vilify farmers, ranchers, and landowners that are trying to preserve agriculture. We need to be aware of this movement and the entire agricultural community needs to work together. Agriculture needs to succeed in order to perpetuate our ranching and paniolo lifestyle, to provide fresh local produce to our residents, and prevent urban sprawl from encompassing our open space and agricultural lands.

KipuKai Kualii
My vision includes our diversified agriculture sector expanded greatly with a lot more growing of a lot more foods that a lot more of us are purchasing and eating. It includes our County in a leading role with an expanded version of our Kaua`i Made & Grown program helping develop more and more local markets for our farmers. It includes successful large scale agriculture growing and raising food that can be exported, be sold locally and be our food source when the barges can’t come. Could it be breadfruit or Hawaiian sweet potatoes? They both can be prepared and enjoyed in many different ways!

Wally Nishimura
We grow our own food, export food and look to hemp.

Jade Waialeale Battad
Farmers and farming are part of our life. We at the county must develop tax, zoning and regulatory policies that recognize that we want our land to blossom, to be productive, to feed us. We must protect our land from an environmental perspective, but where using the land is appropriate, we should support that use, whether it is ranching, root vegetables, fruits, pond culture, foliage and flowers, medicinal crops (laʻau), agricultural research, forestry or any of the many other branches of agriculture. We must not fall into the trap of picking and choosing which are most favored and which are pariahs, because that eventually hurts all of them, and all of us.

3. What role do you feel the visitor industry should play in Kauai’s economy?

Addison Bulosan
The visitor industry is our economic powerhouse. I feel that our relationship with the visitor industry is changing and our efforts are focused on becoming more efficient and profitable at the same time. The visitor industry is a well integrated experience here on Kauai and has provided so much for families and businesses to thrive and survive. COVID-19 experience has provided a window for us as local businesses, government systems, and everyday people, to re-evaluate and innovate our visitor industry systems. It is apparent that we want it to be more efficient, more sustainable, and more respectful to our environment. We know clearly, that even at the height of our visitor industry prowess, people were still suffering financially and our environment was being pushed beyond its limits. I believe we are currently on the right track in adapting our visitor industry systems and executing the strategic plan developed by KVB and the best foot forward is implementing changes as quickly as possible. It will require collaboration at all levels and we’ll need everyone to engage in the process and be part of the solution.

Bernard Carvalho Jr
The visitor industry plays a big role in Kauai’s Economy not only through offering employment opportunities for residents, but also lays out the process we need to take to improve the visitor experience on our island. The major impacts of tourism on our enviroment and the cultural sensitivity to our island is at the forefront. We as leaders need to work together to find balance and trust between the visitor and the resident so business opportunities can flouris. This all connects to the County of Kauai’s Tourism Strategic Plan, which strives to improve the visitor experience on Kaua’i, reduce the impacts of tourism on the enviroment and local residents, and ehances the qualtiy of life for the visitor industry employees.

Mason Chock
Covid-19 has made it visibly clear what we were experiencing on our roads, feeling in how we lived, and seeing in our natural environment prior to the pandemic. It has convinced everyone that we cannot and should not depend solely on our visitor industry. While I know we will continue to feel the impacts of the pandemic in all industries, tourism will continue to be the largest revenue generator in the short term until we can further diversify our economy. Kauai is, after all, the most beautiful destination in the world. Because of this, it behooves us to manage it properly so that it can have a lasting, positive impact for both tourists and residents. Managing the flow and access points of our visitors will be important from a health standpoint as well as for the preservation of resources and lifestyle. A limitation on rental cars and a shift to multi-modes of traffic is imperative, which inevitably requires sound planning and changes to HRS. We need to manage our visitor destination capacity by region and enact control measures that limit access, by permit or entry fee, while preserving the beauty for both residents and malahini. We will need to highlight the privilege of being a visitor and the kuleana that comes with that both in behavior and in sharing the true expense of our infrastructure and services. There are many places around the world, such as Iceland that are a shining example of this commitment. We would merely need to adapt some of their practices to our culture and way of life. Interestingly, our General Plan identifies the ceiling limits experienced in the visitor industry and ways the county could look to support the balance being sought. Within that General Plan, the formation of a Kakou Committee was identified as a good avenue to continue working towards how we return our economy sustainably. Lastly, we must work closely with our visitor industry leaders to assist with our island needs as well as provide a positive, responsible and safe experience for all visitors to Kauai. If Kauai is deemed proud to be the most Covid-19 free destination, we would be in a position to enlist stringent parameters for entry to protect our citizens while providing a unique experience for travelers. In all, we must learn to coexist in the healthiest possible way where we all benefit, including our natural environment.

Felicia Cowden
The visitor industry is critically important in a diversified economy that can strengthen existing and launch new economic sectors. It can play a core role in helping us to redefine and promote a fresh, more conscious, mindset for visitors of the holistic nature of Kauai as a community’s sacred home. Reaching inclusively to neighborhood associations and the small business community can help clarify welcome pathways that include the transportation sector will yield best results.

Mike Dandurand
The pandemic and resulting ‘new normal’ has presented a unique opportunity to reset our dependence on tourism and assess how our island has been affected. Now is the time to diversify our economy with measures that protect the environment and beauty of the island while balancing the needs of our society.

Luke Evslin
There is no doubt that the visitor industry is, and likely always will be, a fundamental part of Kaua’i’s economy. A well-functioning visitor industry can help pay for the preservation of natural resources, it can provide countless ways for local entrepreneurs to start businesses, and by providing a market for locally made/grown goods, it can support industries outside of the visitor industry like agriculture and local manufacturing. However, as outlined in our Kaua’i Tourism Strategic Plan, we are over capacity for tourists and this has detrimental impacts on our roads, on our well-being, on our local housing market, and even on our economy. We simultaneously have a dire housing crisis on Kaua’i and 1 in 8 homes being utilized as a vacation rental. That is unacceptable, as reduced supply increases the cost of housing for local residents and hollows out the character of neighborhoods. Another result of overtourism is that as our visitor numbers go up beyond our saturation point, per-visitor spending goes down at least partially due to the fact that visitors are less satisfied when they’re here and so we’re also attracting visitors who are less likely to spend lots of money. Overtourism also sucks up all of the oxygen and makes it harder for us to take steps necessary for diversification (outlined more in the link below). Lastly, as we can see at the moment, too much dependence on tourism puts our local economy entirely at the mercy of the mainland economy. Part of the reason that it’s going to take us so long to dig out of this economic recession is because we have so little economic diversification to keep us moving. Going forward, we certainly need to bring our visitor numbers back up significantly as soon as it is safe to do so, but we need to follow the strategies of our Kaua’i Tourism Strategic Plan to ensure that we don’t again expand beyond our capacity. In short, this means increasing the cost of visiting the island through measures such as paid parking for tourists in our beach parks, as well as continued regulation of the Vacation Rental industry in an effort to reduce the number of TVRs on island, as well as coordination with the State NOT to expand the Lihu’e airport or allow for additional flights. For more of my thoughts on tourism: https://www.civilbeat.org/2016/10/luke-evslin-time-to-put-the-brakes-on-tourism/

Ed Justus
Tourism is an important economy sector, and will continue to be so. It doesn’t mean we should be almost entirely dependent on it. Massive unemployment figures are due to our reliance. It is important to improve our infrastructure so we can handle the volume of tourism we have. Better materials for highly-travelled roads, opening new bypass routes to reduce congestion, and expanding/reimagining parking areas for popular stops, and limiting new hotel developments are just some of the ways.

Arryl Kaneshiro
While we have witnessed first-hand the vulnerabilities of industry to COVID-19, tourism will continue to be our economic engine. Tourism not only supports paying jobs within the hotel industry, it supports complimentary businesses: restaurants, shops, eco-adventures, and so many more. It will take time before the tourism industry is back up and running. Now is the time to support local more than ever. We need our local business to survive and if or when traveler confidence and local families confidence in safely receiving tourism is restored—the tourism industry will pick up and our local businesses we will be in a better place because of it.

KipuKai Kualii
Our visitor industry should; and, inevitably will, play a leading role in our economy. Our Economic Recovery Strategy Teams came up with several different ideas for “re-focusing tourism to find balance”. Everyone agrees we need to move forward to a place where tourism has a lighter carbon footprint; a place where tourism is no longer threatening our environment, as well as not lessening our residents’ quality of life. Some call it “Responsible Tourism”. A large part of our tourism should also transition responsibly into other forms like Eco-Tourism, Agri-Tourism and Cultural Tourism.

Wally Nishimura
The visitor industry will have to continue to be our main source of income until we can diversify.

Jade Waialeale Battad
We have welcomed visitors to our island for generations, and those visitors are key to our economy. My family has been an active part of the visitor industry. While I support more diversification, we can improve the visitor experience—ways that also improve our own residents’ lives. Proper management of visitor destinations, like the work done at Ke’e, reduces negative impacts and improves the experience of all users—resident as well as visitor. That kind of thinking must be applied around the island.

4. If elected to the Council, how would you engage with the business community prior to your decision-making?

Addison Bulosan 
I’m an advocate for open communication and collaboration. If elected, I’d love to facilitate developing a dedicated system for businesses to engage the county council in addition to the current programming that the Kauai Chamber coordinates. We need a better feedback system that allows for collaborative dialogue to occur which can spur innovation and effective problem solving. I currently hold a weekly zoom every Wednesday evening to collaborate with our community and I can imagine that we can look into if elected. I currently am connected to the businesses as the President of the Rice Street Business Association, Vice President of Lihue Business Association, board member of Kauai Chamber of Commerce, past board member of Kauai Filipino Chamber of commerce, and as an owner of three local businesses on Kauai and Hawaii. Through these organizations I hope to continue the relationships that have been created and continue to work together on creating a more prosperous Kauai amidst these economic challenges.

Bernard Carvalho Jr
I believe in coordination, cooperation and collaboration. As a council member, we nee to assure our residents that we not only hear, but we listen to the concerns of the community, then we as leaders find the solutions and/or options. With this process in place, decisions can be made in a timely manner

Mason Chock
As a leader, I believe the most important aspect to good decision making is an inclusive process that needs to take into consideration every stakeholder. As a Councilmember, I have always looked towards the many associations such as the chamber of commerce, neighborhood associations, laborers and construction unions and representative groups of our industries to receive feedback and collaborate on policy changes. I will continue to engage and work with our stakeholders so the best solutions can be reached by attending association events, listening to our business representatives, and participating in shared meetings. It may have to happen differently in our new way of communicating and holding group meetings, but I am committed to it.

Felicia Cowden
Having had two decades of business ownership, active engagement with the business community is natural to me. Attendance at Chamber meetings is an enjoyable method. My pattern is to routinely and pro-actively call businesses that may be effected by proposed policies, as well as to be as responsive as possible to their outreaches. I am committed everyday, almost full time to community outreach. The Kauai Board of Realtors, HTLA, and others have been excellent policy partners for understanding.

Mike Dandurand
If I am elected to Council, I will always provide a means for direct and open dialogue from the community at large. You can count on me to reach out to associations and groups that exist for each industry affected by those decisions.

Luke Evslin
In my first term in office, I hope that I have shown that I prioritize community engagement on all issues. I try to communicate regularly on important policies via Facebook and a regular email blast, I make an effort to always respond to all questions and concerns via FB or email, and I attend as many community events as my schedule permits. So far, for all housing and tax policies that I’ve thought the business community would be interested in weighing in on, I have reached out directly to the Chamber of Commerce for input and have always made myself available to come to Chamber meetings to discuss policy.

Ed Justus
I am the owner and operator of “Talk Story Bookstore” in Hanapepe–Kauai’s last remaining bookstore–which I started in 2004. As a small business person, I definitely understand the direct impacts that government decisions can make upon a business, and why we must reach out first. In fact, I was the one who insisted that the County ensure that revocable permit applicants get permission from the business or property owners before they would be allowed to set up in front of someone’s business.

Arryl Kaneshiro
As a fourth generation farmer, Project Manager at Grove Farm, and current councilmember I have been particularly engaged with the business community. I am fortunate to be in positions that allow me to be exposed to a wide variety of businesses sectors. Engaging the business community is knowing and understanding the continued hardships that small businesses endure, either from unforeseen circumstances or under the various and often overly burdensome regulatory regimes in place here in Hawaii. I am always open for businesses input. Additionally, I meet quarterly with Chamber of Commerce’s government affairs committee and value their insight and input on all council matters.

KipuKai Kualii
If re-elected, I would continue to engage with the business community by reaching out to all potential stakeholders as I’ve been doing for the past few months as the Housing & Intergovernmental Relations Committee Chair regarding our important and large Housing Policy update bill. We’ve reached out by email, mail and telephone to stakeholders such as developers (including non-profit developers), property owners, contractors, realtors and even building trades unions. COVID-19 has made outreach challenging – but, we’ve been able to host several online meetings with stakeholders.

Wally Nishimura
Meetings with each business association.

Jade Waialeale Battad
I am committed to keeping our island’s economy strong, and that means working together and communicating. People who know me know that I listen, and that I have been an active participant in our island community for my entire life. People from all parts of the community, including the business community, can expect a thoughtful ear. When issues arise, I will seek out the best ideas, by asking, and by listening to the responses.

5. How would you help ensure that working middle class residents can afford to buy or rent a home in Kaua’i?

Addison Bulosan
The best thing we can do right now for our working middle class is to continue to grow our town core centers. The working middle class is looking for a lifestyle that allows them to live, work, and play relatively close to each other so we can reduce our cost of living and enjoy life more fully. My focus will be on helping town core centers develop multi-use buildings with residential and commercial spaces that allow for affordable homes and rentable units to be developed in areas where we can live our life without the heavy burden of cost of living. Alongside a build up in town core centers is continuing current residential areas to develop more affordable spaces through ARUs and ADUs which allows us to increase the housing market and counter the continued rising cost of home rentals.

Bernard Carvalho Jr
In addition to approved affordable housing projects that have been completed or are in the process of development, like the Kolopua project in Princeville, Kaniko’o in Lihue and the Lima Ola project in Eleele, we as leaders need to continue to seek resources and support housing projects like these. Parnterships with Habitat for Humanity and other affordable housing partners is also vital in makig homes available to residents at various income levels thorughout our island. It is also especially important to note the various housing progrmas such as the First-time Home Buyer Loan Program and other programs that are administered through the County Housing Agency. The most recent opportunity for emergency rental, mortgage, and utility assistance program support came through an emergency block grant. The housing agnecy partnered with the Family Life Center and Malama Pono Health Services to administer the grant.

Mason Chock
It starts with proper planning and our general plan outlines what is necessary for us to increase our housing capacity on Kauai in a way that keeps it affordable for our residents. We must support mixed use and town core development to make all aspects of life more accessible and affordable. The county must amend the current housing ordinance in order to provide the tools necessary developers to engage and for more housing to occur for local residents. There is a bill to amend the housing ordinance right now before the council that will need much attention and scrutiny to maximize the opportunities to provide more housing. In addition, we must increase the county housing revolving fund to provide affordable housing projects or land bank for future needs. We have a good long-term affordable program and we may need revisit its thresholds to retain more affordable rentals. We need to strategize more incentive packages like ARU, and continue to revise our CZO to make it easier and affordable for residents to build eliminating barriers that stalled projects in the past. We need to expedite permits, help transition illegal TVRs into long term affordable rentals with the long term affordable rental exemption, and seek out funding to offer more section 8 HUD housing.

Felicia Cowden
A holistic design of permanent affordable living has become necessary for most new home buyers from Kauai to be able to purchase or rent a house. Supporting policies that allow flexibility for home-based businesses, and equity partnerships for home purchases are interesting to me. Development of new earning potential is a priority, such as the success newer residents experience with virtual work for distant clients and companies. Discouraging speculation on home investments is key.

Mike Dandurand
The real question is “What is Affordable and What can we afford?” $400,000 for a home or $1800/mo rent is not affordable to most of us. 1) Increase the supply of long-term rentals by limiting Non-conforming TVRS, 2)Lower the cost of building to developers by allowing them to build up, not out, in our City Center (Lihue).

Luke Evslin
We have three simultaneous housing crises on Kaua’i that are contributing to the astronomically high cost of housing– and all three need to be addressed separately. Not enough housing is getting built, too many houses are vacant or being used as TVRs, and too many residents don’t have high enough incomes to pay for housing. All three require separate strategies: 1) We aren’t building enough new homes. Between 1960 and 2010, Kaua’i added an average of 600 new homes per year. From 2010 until now, that number has been closer to 150. With the supply of new homes not keeping pace with population growth—most of which is from babies being born here—the market price of housing has skyrocketed over the last decade, far outpacing any growth in wages. This rapid appreciation in the value of existing homes as well as a lack of rental supply drives up the cost of rent and keeps local buyers from being able to afford a home. To change course, we need to add many, many new homes—but we need to ensure that they’re being built within and around existing job centers so that we’re not exacerbating traffic, increasing the cost of infrastructure, or increasing carbon emissions. For me, I think that ARUs and ADUs are the low-hanging fruit of our housing crisis. As we have an aging population, many people have extra room in their existing home or yard for a tenant or even for their children, and we need to make it as easy and cheap as possible for them to convert their home to a duplex or build a small unit in their backyard. I’ve co-introduced a number of bills along these lines, such as the ARU incentive package which eliminates up to $20k in permitting/building fees for affordable ARUS, and the tiny house bill which defines tiny homes and loosens the building code for them, and the bill to eliminate minimum lot sizes for multifamily homes. The current housing ordinance under deliberation would also be a step in the right direction along these lines. 2) We also need to increase the supply of housing by creating more disincentives for vacant homes and vacation rentals— which we can primarily do through higher property taxes for those housing types. Vacation rental operations need to cover the full cost of infrastructure expenses from the tourists they host and they should also pay a premium for taking a home off of the housing market. Vacant homes should pay higher property taxes both as a premium for taking a home off the housing market and also to ensure that they’re covering the full cost of infrastructure and services to their house—because they are not contributing to other forms of tax revenue like state income taxes, excise taxes, gas taxes, etc. 3) We need to increase the amount of subsidized housing on Kaua’i so that those making 80% and below of the Area Median Income can afford to live on Kaua’i in a stable home-environment. The housing development fund which the County Housing Agency utilizes to build subsidized housing not only is a vital source of reduced cost of housing for low-income residents, but it’s also an incredible economic stimulus for Kaua’i—because each dollar the county puts forward gets multiplied by up to 10x in State and Federal funds bringing more money into our local economy through construction jobs. More of my thoughts on reducing the cost of housing here: https://medium.com/@luke.evslin/last-week-the-garden-island-newspaper-published-an-op-ed-i-wrote-in-support-of-most-of-the-policies-e56c905afb5 and https://medium.com/@luke.evslin/kauai-s-old-homes-have-increased-in-value-by-345-since-1984-that-needs-to-end-afdbcfb360af

Ed Justus
There are a few ways. We can raise property taxes for non-resident home owners, using those increased funds to lower property taxes for actual residents, thereby reducing rent and homeowners costs. We can also incentivize TVR owners to switch to renting to residents by creating a higher TVR tax rate. This would free up available spaces and help to reduce tourism impact. Like Oahu, we need to make a tiered residential tax rate–far lower for most residences and higher for high-value homes.

Arryl Kaneshiro
So much of our existing government regulations are a barrier to affordable housing. I recently introduced a bill that passed to allow construction of multi-family dwelling units in the Residential Zoning District (R-6 and below). This means local families can now take advantage of reduced construction costs, such as shared roofs and walls, as well as running infrastructure and utilities to one building rather than two separate buildings. There is no single solution to our housing crisis. In addition to resolving regulatory barriers, the County has taken great strides in creating affordable housing. These projects stretch across the island with Kolopua in Princeville, Kealaula and Pua Loke Affordable Housing in Lihue, Koae in Koloa, Limaola in Eleele, and Huakai in Waimea. Furthermore, we as a County need to be more business friendly and help develop good paying jobs. From the start-up entrepreneur to the everyday farmer, much of Hawaii’s business regulations lack sensibility. We need to enable businesses to concentrate on their operations without gross government intervention. Allowing business to survive and prosper, even grow, will create greater economic opportunity/diversity. Allowing businesses to survive in perpetuity provides employees with a stable job, steady income, and means to put a roof over their families’ heads.

KipuKai Kualii
As Housing Chair, I’m leading the update to our Housing Policy. With our Housing Director’s help and based on recommendations from the Workforce Housing Nexus, we’re proposing exemptions to spur development in our town core areas. Lower prices are possible when units are built smaller and close to existing infrastructure. There are additional proposed amendments also intended to help build our much needed housing inventory. We’ve also passed several planning bills that support more building of affordable housing and rentals including ADU’s, ARU’s, Guest Houses and Tiny Homes.

Wally Nishimura
I would look to use revenue from tourism taxes to fund infrastructure in new developments.

Jade Waialeale Battad
Housing is a complex issue. This is no one fix, and we should not look for just one fix. I believe we must adopt density alternatives, support innovative housing solutions, invest in infrastructure where we need new housing, ease permitting, simplify zoning, talk to our contractors about the help they need, and press for the development of both rental and owned housing of many kinds. One example: Nearly a quarter of our households are single-person households, but where is the inexpensive, small, studio and one-bedroom housing for them? If we build it, we not only provide lower-cost solutions, but providing a place for smaller families, we can open up larger housing stock for big ones.

6. How would you effectively manage budget and operations compared to the past?

Addison Bulosan
I believe the current and past administrations have done a lot of good work at managing our budget with a few exceptions that I believe they are working to address. We are heading towards a massive downturn in revenues for the County due to the affects of COVID-19 on GET, TAT, fuel tax, and a few other taxes in 2021 and on. My focus will be on working together with our county team to become more efficient in our systems and services so that we will be able to financially withstand the loss of revenues without sacrificing services. There are county operational inefficincies, technology upgrades, and duplicate services already identified internally that we can work on. I look forward to working with the county council team and helping our government become more efficient in helping our community.

Bernard Carvalho Jr
As a council member, one of the main tasks is to approve the County annual Operating and CIP budgets. While it is the administrations responsibility to spend the funds as budgeted, the County Council also has an ongoing responsibility to determine if funds are being spent in a fiscally prudent manner. One of the accomplishments of the County Council and the (Carvalho) administration was the passage of the reserve policy resolution to control overspending. We consulted with the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) to assist us with the best practice recommendations to create this policy. This budgetary tool thankfully remains in effect today. It basically requires that the County maintain a reserve of 30 percent of the prior year’s operating expenditures. This “rainy day” fund can only be tapped for specific reasons including Natural Disasters when needed. It also spells out how the fund must be replenished over time if used. As a council member, I will work with my fellow council members and the administration to pursue more best practice policies like the reserve policy to wisely spend tax dollars.

Mason Chock
Management of the budget will require bold decision making to ensure core services are secured without any waste. We will need to be creative in how we achieve providing a high level of service without adding to our personnel expenses. There are two variables to consider accomplishing this. The first is increasing the output of your current workforce by investing in building the human capital of the organization. We need each county employee to be a leader, take initiative and fund creative solutions that will continue to arise. The second is an investment in the tools which in many cases involve technological advancements or systems to better operate. The council with the mayor will have to scrutinize every expense and consider drastic shifts as we continue to see revenue shortfalls. Because personnel expenses amount to eighty percent of the county budget, considerations will need to be made for addressing this huge annual bill. Considerations in dire times may require cutting salaries, furloughs, and eliminating premiums. I also believe we can further diversify our tax code with tiers to allow a wider tax base without inadvertently taxing our homestead and lower tiered residents with exceptions. We will need to work closely with unions to ensure contracts reflect the economic challenges that we are experiencing and will continue to experience. The next term will be different than any other I’ve worked on.

Felicia Cowden
In the mayor’s first term in office, department heads had done much of the cost cutting. The recent budget session has been surreal in the face of COVID19 financial uncertainties. Next year will reveal a more full experience of the economic shutdown, losses and impacts. Quarterly, we need to keep a tight watchful eye on revenues and create forgiveness policies such that we do not help to drive our big and small businesses and families into destitution. We will survive, thrive or fail together.

Mike Dandurand
I am open and eager to learn more about Kauai’s budget and operations. I will always honor and respect past protocols and measures, while being open to assessing and balancing new ideas for managing our budget. At this point in my campaign, I would only be able to confidently recommend fiscal responsibility and prudent long term investments in Kaua’i’s future.

Luke Evslin
As we face an inevitable decline in revenue due to COVID-19, it’s important for us to prioritize local expenditures (like grants in aid, affordable housing construction, infrastructure, and county salaries) while doing all that we can NOT to significantly contract the budget—as that will prolong the depth and length of the recession. That said, we’re required by law to maintain a balanced budget—so some cuts are inevitable. Like this year, I think it’s important to cut travel, training, consultant fees, and new equipment purchases first. In the long run, it’s my hope that we will move to more of a performance based budget system where we allocate money based on how well a department is doing at measurable outcomes related to increasing the public good. Unlike the private sector where you can determine how well an organization is doing based on their profit margin, in the public sector we need to have a host of measurable outcomes related to public value to help guide effective decision making. One of my surprises in my first term was realizing how much we do not measure—so it often feels like we’re budgeting blind and also not able to hold department heads accountable to certain objectives. That is one area where we need consistent improvement as a county.

Ed Justus
When the State closed my bookstore as “non-essential”, I did not have any revenue stream. I had no choice but to let go of my employee and streamline expenses. Painful choices had to be made. The County is no different. If we want it to be able to function for our critical services, we have to make some cuts. Most of the budget is tied up in pension/payroll, and we must also have this crucial conversation with the unions on riding out this storm. We must heed the advice of our Cost Control Commission, too.

Arryl Kaneshiro
I chaired the past 6 budgets and am proud of the financial condition in which our County currently is. During this time, I have continuously stressed the importance of balancing a budget with a healthy reserve for emergency situations. It wasn’t easy, but a reserve budget has always been one of my primary focuses, and I advocated for, fought for, and ultimately was able establish and maintain a 30 percent emergency reserve. Our County reserve has since grown from $19 million in 2014 to around $60 million today. This reserve has ensured that we have the means to withstand natural disasters and economic downturns such as the effects we are currently feeling from COVID-19.

KipuKai Kualii
As always, I’ll carefully analyze HR’s vacancy reports and call for cuts there. It’s important to me to also prevent layoffs, furloughs or cuts in services. As before, I’ll also look at cutting any new positions. I’ll ask for any possible further deferral of road repairs and resurfacing, as well as cuts to travel and training. With real property taxes, if absolutely necessary, I’m open to raising rates on Residential Investor and also bringing all transient accommodations categories to the highest rate of Resort. Lastly, I will look for ways our service delivery could be more cost efficient.

Wally Nishimura
I’ve gone through the budget line by line, all 301 pages. We can cut out a lot of costs and change how we operate post covid.

Jade Waialeale Battad
The way we have handled budgets in the past will not be sufficient for the future. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, our economy is in shambles and our county and state budgets are deeply in the red. I hope to be part of a County Council that reaches out to every part of our community for ideas—ideas on where we can safely cut, what we must change, and where we may need to invest. This is not the time for single-minded slashing of programs, but it IS a time for serious-minded review of how we run our county.

7. How can Kaua’i maintain its rural character while continuing to accommodate a growing population and visitor counts? How do your ideas fit with the current General Plan?

Addison Bulosan
The best way to maintain our “Kauai look and feel” is to stop urban sprawl and focus on developing in town core centers. This will allow us to focus on utilizing current infrastructure, reduce transportation costs, keep homes affordable, take care of our environment, and be financially cost effective for our community. This is part of the general plan and I’m focused on executing the general plan in a speedy fashion due to the challenges we are facing due to COVID-19. Everyone has their version of “rural character” which may be no high rises or no highways. The reality is that we need to balance what that feels like and also adapt to the times so we don’t constantly have a brain drain and inability to sustain a lifestyle for our keiki and kama’aina. Our community is constantly adapting and as we move together through these unprecedented times, my hope is that we will continue to focus on creating a brighter future for Kauai.

Bernard Carvalho Jr
The Kauai Kakou-Kauai County General Plan was completed and as the former Mayor, I signed the plan as presented in 2018. This very recent document charts the course for our Island, guiding our growth and sustainability for generations to come. It is important that we as leaders completely embrace and support this document because it represents the desires and dreams of our Island residents, business community, and government leaders who collaborated together to define and implement a shared vision for our Island Home.

Mason Chock
The April floods of 2018 gave our north shore community the opportunity to reconsider how to manage their visitor and residential traffic flow. This is a prime example of a community led, government supported initiative that has helped deter traffic and safety issues and ultimately contributes to the rural character of our island. We need to duplicate this effort in high traffic areas starting with our visitor destination areas that will encourage them getting out of their rental cars on to these regional shuttles. Like the north shore shuttle, it will take the assistance of our businesses through tools like Business Improvement Districts to solidify a better outcome for both residents and visitors. No other industry has the ability to preserve our rural character than agriculture. We need to find the means to transition industrial agriculture into productive models that support our local economy and provide unique products that the world is seeking. Also, investment in agriculture we are already have a history and are known for in kalo production and fishpond cultivation are opportunities we have not fully realized that would preserve our culture, provide jobs, pride in our community and if done right sustain our environment. We must manage our internal growth better and that will take discipline to not sprawl outwards creating more traffic and making it more expensive to live on our island. If we follow the guidelines identified within the General Plan on where and how to grow, we would have done the next generation a service.

Felicia Cowden
The county is actively legalizing and assisting density possibilities such as ADU, ARU, Guest houses, Tiny Houses and mixed-use areas of town cores. Were we to choose to again legalize and allow the humble, true farm worker housing, rural agriculture would increase. Pressure to encourage DHHL to release Hawaiian Homes is long overdue. Policies that discourage empty houses is needed. Partnering with distressed small hotel properties could repurpose units for long-term needs. This aligns with GPU.

Mike Dandurand
Kaua’i’s population is at 72,000 residents at last count and growing at around 1% per year. We have approximately 31,000 owner-occupied residential units. Given these numbers, we need to have approximately 180-200 new units next year and exponentially increasing this number as we move forward. The key is to keep our population growth in a central location to avoid a sprawl of subdivisions.

Luke Evslin
To accommodate a growing population and maintain our rural character we have to follow the General Plan—as this is very literally one of the guiding principles of the plan. As outlined in the General Plan, we are currently developing most of our homes on low density residential land and agricultural land far from town centers. This consumes ag land, makes it harder for people to farm, increases traffic, increases infrastructure costs, increases carbon emissions, increases the amount of money that people have to spend on transportation as they’re forced to live far from work, and a host of other negative outcomes. To maintain our rural atmosphere, we need to redirect our new housing development into and around our town cores in order to preserve our open space and agricultural land. That means removing barriers to construction within our towns, making it easier for people to build ADUs/ARUs, expanding sewer, incentivizing more mixed use housing, regulate the form of development rather than the use through form based codes, and even some incremental increases in density where necessary—such as the Lihu’e Town Core. Almost every bill that I introduced last year fit into one of these boxes and nearly all of them came directly from policy’s outlined in the General Plan. More of my thoughts on how to preserve our rural nature here: https://www.civilbeat.org/2016/05/luke-evslin-a-new-approach-to-zoning-could-save-kauais-character/ Thoughts on how to manage growth here: https://www.civilbeat.org/2016/09/luke-evslin-managing-growth-isnt-as-simple-as-it-seems/ That said—we’re likely facing negative population growth at some point in the near future, which will present another massive problem for us. More of my thoughts on that here: https://www.civilbeat.org/2016/03/luke-evslin-can-we-grow-our-economy-not-our-population/

Ed Justus
Thankfully, the vast majority of Kauai’s land is designated agriculture and conservation/open space. This means we will always have a rural feel. However, most of the traffic congestion from population and tourism increases can diminish that feeling. We can relieve some of this pressure by opening up more bypass roads on Kauai (many of which are on older existing plans). This is one important way, and would fit in with the overall intention of the General Plan.

Arryl Kaneshiro
We need to keep urban, urban; and we need to keep rural, rural. However, running away from the reality of our island’s natural growth does not help solve the problem. We cannot cheat our way out of the fact that we as an island are growing internally. My focus on development is not limited to just growing the economy. For much of our past, Kauai has had a birth rate that exceeds our death rate, and as morbid as this sounds, the fact remains, we are birthing more children than people are dying. In order to accommodate for this growth, we need to develop certain areas to ensure that once our keiki grow up, they have a place to live. The question then is how do we develop, do we continue along the tract of urban sprawl to accommodate this growth or do we refocus our development within our existing town core areas. I am in favor of the later because this allows us to increase our housing stock while simultaneously preserving our agricultural and open space lands. Along with this need to facilitate more housing for our residents is the fact that much of our island was feeling overwhelmed with unfettered tourism. By no means should we stop tourism; however, we need to begin modeling the way our facilities that are shared by both locals and tourists can be adequately balanced. The program recently put in place to manage Kee Beach to have tourist reservations, a shuttle system to ensure rental cars do not consume the Haena neighborhood, and simultaneous provisions to provide for local families to access this treasured area serves as a model for so many of our shared beach and recreational facilities. The General Plan does lay this out and I fully support these types of measures.

KipuKai Kualii
I support our talented County Planners helping us plan for accommodating our growing population and visitor counts by utilizing smart growth, complete streets, transient-oriented development, placemaking and other evolving, best-practice planning principles. The revitalization of Rice Street and Lihu`e town gives us a glimpse of our hopeful future. Our General Plan, developed with a lot of community input, has 19 key policies, an actions chapter tied to policies and an expanded implementation chapter. It is well-equipped to help us manage growth providing guidance along the way.

Wally Nishimura
Keep our developments below the coconut tree and expand outward. We need to manage the way visitors travel to our scenic areas/ beaches/ parks.

Jade Waialeale Battad
I deeply appreciate all the work that went into our General Plan. It is an excellent plan. That said, the crisis before us provides us with an opportunity to look at our future through new eyes. We know things and we recognize risks that we did not fully appreciate even a few years ago. It is not clear to me that we can expect a return to rapidly growing visitor counts. Within the next Council term, we will need to review our assumptions, and revisit our expectations.

8. Will you support efforts to ensure that all vacation rentals, home stay units, bed and breakfast, and all transient vacation units are charged resort property tax rates?

Addison Bulosan
Yes, I support policies that accurately reflect the tax structure for the services that is being provided.

Bernard Carvalho Jr
YES!

Mason Chock
Yes, I have worked diligently and consistently to find solutions to the Short Term Transient Vacation Rental impact on our Kaua’i housing crisis. I do think the implementation of a tiered tax class would allow the county to more fairly apply tax rates on use. TVRs should be comparable to hotel and resorts, however until we invest in this system, any changes will continue to run into unintended consequences based on the variances of situations and uses.

Felicia Cowden
No. Resorts & TVR’s have differing impacts. Beyond raising the value of real estate, TVR’s have little more infrastructure costs than an ordinary household, and house their owners for portions of the year. While resorts are important economic partners to the island, their impacts often include injection wells, chemicals from pools & infrastructure, increased traffic from room density and staffing, etc. Abandoned resorts are left to public responsibility; ie: Coco Palms & Kaluakoi on Molokai.

Mike Dandurand
I believe that we cannot apply a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Resorts are completely different from a resident-owned bed-and-breakfast. Assuming they are all in VDA compliance, we should look at a tax for each category based on income generated and environmental impact.

Luke Evslin
Yes. I tried to increase vacation rental tax rates to be on par with the hotel rate during our first budget cycle, but I was the only vote for it. I tried again to ensure that vacation rental operations with an owner on-site (such as homestays and part-time residents) pay the same vacation rental rate that all other vacation rentals pay (they only pay the commercialized home use rate now) and that bill failed as well. The reason for this is two-fold: 1) to ensure that TVRs are paying for the full cost of infrastructure that their guests use and 2) to try and reduce the number of TVR operations to ensure that our tourism numbers don’t exceed capacity. There is one caveat though. I do not believe that people doing a house swap for a limited duration or those with an income limited homestay permit (there are a handful of them) should pay the full vacation rental rate as there use is not the same as a full TVR.

Ed Justus
Residential rentals are very limited here and often expensive. I personally know the anxiety-creating displeasure of trying to find a place to rent on short notice. This is why we need to create the higher property tax incentive for TVR owners to convert their tourist rentals into residential units. My wife, Yuriko, and I actually live in a place that was once a TVR, and it works well for both parties. I would also support specifically taxing resorts higher due to their traffic impact.

Arryl Kaneshiro
Yes.

KipuKai Kualii
Yes. It seems to me that’s what would be fair. Of course, I will do my due diligence and look at the data and studies. And, I will seek input from all the different stakeholders affected.

Wally Nishimura
Yes

Jade Waialeale Battad
Visitor accommodations in homes generate significant revenue, and also significantly impact infrastructure and services. They should certainly contribute in ways that address those increased impacts.

9. What two ideas do you have about economic diversification and how would you develop these two areas?

Addison Bulosan
Our two biggest opportunities that are clearly apparent during this pandemic is our work-from-home jobs and local agriculture. The world learned in a few months that millions of jobs can be done from home. From the private sector to government, we adapted instantly. Our biggest opportunity is in investing in our broadband capabilities as a county and enabling businesses to convert to an online platform. This also allows for businesses to access a global market and to increase our economic reach. This opportunity also opens the door for our kama’aina around the world who have been wanting to come home and now may be able to get the best of both worlds, a successful job that allows them to work from home, and living on their island home, Kauai. We have the potential of reversing our brain drain and we have a short window in capturing this market that could build a stronger working class for the future and contribute to a more diversified economy. Our second biggest opportunity is fast tracking our ability to increase our usage of locally produced foods. The entire food system from agriculture to end user has been disrupted and our local farmers and users are adapting to the times. A serious increase in local CSA boxes, home gardens, and small community farmers markets have popped up and we must invest into this movement to continue our food industry growth. This opportunity allows for local dollars to continue to flow within the island and empower both our supply and demand for local products. Both of these economic industries will not replace the powerhouse of tourism because tourism is our economic engine but what it will do is create a more sustainable economy and allow us to reduce our cost of living at the same time.

Bernard Carvalho Jr
I would support the efforts of the Kauai Economic Strategy Team which consists of eight different sectors: Agriculture; Business; Construction and Public Works; Education; Finance; Health Care; Tourism; and Technology/Sustainability. The discussions are already in place and the critical areas of our ecomomic diversification is already in motion. The areas that I would like to highlight is Agriculture an Technology/Sustainability. The growing of our own food incorporated with Technology/Sustainability will build a solid base in taking care of our people and our Island Home.

Mason Chock
As I mentioned, one thing that covid-19 taught us was that we need to be ready to take care of ourselves. This means we need to be able to feed ourselves and provide for our own health. Investing in a circular economy is the answer we’ve lamented on for generations and now is yet another opportunity to move the needle in this direction. I have always believed that agriculture was our means to preserve our rural character, retain our lifestyle and provide for ourselves. To increase our capacity in this area, the county should invest as much as possible into infrastructure needs that include access to water, storage, processing and production facilities. We need to continue the current track we are on in supporting our local farmers and assist with a comprehensive and integrated distribution system so that residents continue to receive the local produce that is being farmed. Farmers markets need to continue to be expanded and invested in. At this time we need to reestablish the EBT program at the markets and expand the possibility of EBT with restaurants doing take out and using local products. Of course, we need to find ways to make it easier to do business in our county with housing and permitting processes that encourage entrepreneurship. We could double the production of kalo and barely meet the demand on the market. It’s time to go back to some of the basics we know and define us. There are many fishponds that can be put back into production. It’s time to reinstitute the Civilian Conservation Corps to act on these agricultural opportunities. Investing in Civilian Conservation Corps style work programs to extend past the cares act funding is a must. Along with work programs we should Increase our Transportation agency service to help people save money. Our ability to provide safe service for workers including evening service will be important. As much a possible we need to wrap our services around our workers can save money. It is foreseen that there may be a rise in pandemics in our future. We should be investing in our healthcare system on a local level. We already have an amazing nursing program but we need to solidify an emerging industry in manufacturing, production and distribution of medical needs such as tests. Why can’t Kaua’i be the place that provides the world with the tools to take care and protect itself as well as others. Investing in and developing local lab capacity must be a priority for self-sufficiency and health. Lastly we need to revamp the Hawaii Visitors industry experience as the only COVID 19 free destination. This protects us and makes it stringent to get here but it also makes us a highly sought after destination in the world. With the statistics of the Alaska model (what we are prescribing to) showing increasingly dangerous numbers, I believe we need a second test administered five days after arriving with quarantine in place until the second test is conclusive. This will lower the percentage of exposure to the island. Imagine, we could pride ourselves on making our quarantine hotels an experience to remember if our hotels take the lead and provide an exemplary hospitality experience throughout their quarantine period.

Felicia Cowden
Emphasis on locally-sourced food is an important pathway for building agriculture. Creating export value-added crops for boutique items such as organic nutrition supplements and herbal remedies. increasing local capacity to develop remote work for off-island clients already works for newer arrivals. Inviting well-paying soft industry must be balanced with the possibility for increased gentrification. High-tech involvement is waiting at the edge of our community. A new cable is needed.

Mike Dandurand
Agriculture is poised as a thriving industry and it is our kuleana to nurture its growth as a viable revenue source. I envision a network of farmer’s with food hubs, delivery services and marketing teams. Small businesses make up a majority of our economy. Assuring their success is vital in our economic survival.

Luke Evslin
We need to do everything that we can to lower the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs. For agriculture, this means allowing farm stands to operate. For other home businesses, this means possibly reviewing our zoning code to allow more small-scale commercial activities to operate within a home. The other aspect of economic diversification comes back to housing. Nobody can start a business if they can’t even afford their rent. And with the cost of housing sky-high—that applies to most young people. I started a business that has helped pay my bills for 13 years while employing 20 other people. But, I could only do so because I started it when I was in college on O’ahu and my parents were paying my rent. The high cost of housing is sucking out all of the oxygen necessary for a diverse economy. So, not only do we need to take all of the measures outlined above to reduce the cost of housing and provide more stimulus for low income folks to pay for housing, but also need to focus on more mixed use housing within our town cores. There is overwhelming evidence that retail operations do better in walkable areas in close proximity to housing. And, what better option for a young budding entrepreneur than to have the option to commute down a staircase to get to work? And because mixed use development patterns within town cores generate higher property tax revenue and cost less to provide infrastructure and municipal services to than neighborhoods far from town—following this type of development pattern outlined in the General Plan will ensure that the County then has more money to be able to spend on small business support and grants in aid.

Ed Justus
Bringing back agriculture is actually a two-fold way to diversify the economy. Not only does it create new jobs and offshoot businesses that support this industry, it actually creates the opportunity for entrepreneurs to create small businesses based on value-added products made from what agriculture is producing. It is the entire downstream effect of incentivizing and opening up an underused sector of our economy. As an entrepreneur, believe me, people will act on the opportunities once there.

Arryl Kaneshiro
We need to strengthen our agricultural sector. There has long been a movement to buy local and grow what we eat. Making those products easy and convenient to purchase are key. The local farmers markets and roadside farm stands provide residents with a consistent location to purchase local produce. I find myself going to the roadside farm stands first before going to the grocery store. Another opportunity to connect farmers and customers is to bring fresh fruit and vegetables to County Housing Projects. A farmer can provide a list of produce and prices for the residents to pre-order and will fill those orders the following week. This is a win-win, residents will be able to receive fresh local produce without leaving their house and the farmer will be able to reach a concentrated area of customers. Rather than relying on visitors to come to Kauai and spend money, we need to market and brand our island products for sale around the world. E-commerce is one of the few ways we can bring outside money to our island. We have many unique products Kauai Coffee, Koloa Rum, Kauai Cookie, Kauai Shrimp, etc. We need to capitalize on these opportunities and really market our Kauai talents and products to the world.

KipuKai Kualii
1st idea – Take a large part of our current tourism industry and transition it responsibly into other forms like Eco-Tourism, Agri-Tourism and Cultural Tourism. I’d work closely with OED, KVB, HVB, HTA, the Chamber and other stakeholders to successfully develop over time. 2nd idea – Develop a large-scale agricultural venture that grows food for the local market and for export. Maybe breadfruit, Hawaiian sweet potatoes or even both. I’d work closely with OED, the Kaua`i Farm Bureau, UH CTAHR, the Chamber, Hawaiian homesteaders and other stakeholders to successfully develop over time.

Wally Nishimura
Farming expansion to include affordable housing for employees. We would lure businesses over with tax breaks. I would also support the expansion of operations at PMRF where many local people are employed.

Jade Waialeale Battad
I am not sure I have a two step answer to this question. I know that we need to reengineer tourism and enact controls, improve the visitor experience and protect our treasured islands natural resources and our land. I recently happened upon the Aina Aloha Economic plan being unveiled and it is a well thought out collaborated process that factors in our Hawaiian values. A diversified economy is something we all agree upon. We need to also agree and advocate for more locally grown food, environmentally friendly work and regenerative businesses which will in turn provide meaningful work and livable wages of a circular economy. We need a better life for our aina and our people.

10. What is your solution to best manage solid waste on Kaua`i? Please include your views on recycling, landfill site, source reduction, and other strategies.

Addison Bulosan
The solution for our solid waste challenge is multi-faceted and includes leaders in every level. From federal, state, county, and every person in our community. None of the solutions are easy but let’s start with the first and most important solution, waste management is everyone’s kuleana. Every single member in our community plays a role from the products we buy to how we manage these items after use. There is no way around this responsibility. Recycling, diversion, and choosing products that are easier to manage is everyone’s job. We must incrementally take on this responsibility and reduce the current rate of waste heading towards our landfill and begin to work on affordable solutions to manage our waste as collective. I’m currently talking with state officials, county partners, and reaching out to other community leaders to look at all of our options and determining what immediate actions we can put in place now and what other actions we can take to address the long term challenge ahead. As technology continues to improve the cost of alternative solutions my hope is that we will be able to implement a long term strategy in the near future.

Bernard Carvalho Jr
It is my hope that the siting of the the new landfill location at the Maalo site in Lihue site is still moving forward. After numerous meetings with government, business and community leaders, the plan was developed. The main feature of the new landfill location was the Resource Recovery Park with focus on reduce, reuse, recycle programs and green educational opportunities for all. Should there be a change in location, I would advocate for the same design and layout. This entire vision would connect into the results of the general plan update which focuses on a sustainable Kauai.

Mason Chock
Diversion is and has always been a high priority for me. The truth is that since the adoption of our county solid waste plan it has not received the attention I’ve wanted it to. Diversion must be the first step in changing how we think and how we view our waste. We can already begin by banning what we put into our landfill such as food waste, concrete and other construction/demolition materials. Once these are banned it will increase the need for us to strengthen our diversion programs such as composting and it will give us an extension on our current landfill. We need to find a way to afford a Material Recovery Facility. We really need our private industry to partner with on these type of ventures, including KIUC. Once we have a solid diversion program set up we can expand our curbside recycling opportunities. We now have less than seven years left on our current landfill site, we must act now to secure a solution to our landfill. Every solution must be considered at this point, including citing a new location for our landfill.

Felicia Cowden
Source reduction is #1. Buy less; buy local. Shift away from single use containers. We could mine-and-line the earliest portion of the Kekaha landfill to last more decades. Solid waste companies have offered to manage the business with the use of an aerobic digester system that converts organic wastes into energy for sale and can consume our mountain of waste. That interests me. It commits the county to a specified volume of garbage, which could be expensive. Public agreement would be essential.

Mike Dandurand
Our island has an operating landfill with an estimated 7-years til capacity, an existing out-of-service bay at the landfill that requires maintenance, and we lack a Materials Recovery Facility. Rather than spending the county budget to site another landfill, we should repair the existing landfill infrastructure and build a new MRF to process recyclables.

Luke Evslin
We need to significantly increase our diversion efforts—including commercial food waste, construction and demolition materials, and paper waste. Eliminating those from our landfill would save taxpayers and drastically extend the life of our landfill. I see commercial food waste as the low hanging fruit, as it’s 10% of our waste stream, in the absence of air it decomposes into methane which is a powerful greenhouse gas, and there is are suitable alternative uses for it in the form of pig food and compost. If we can create the system, it will save restaurants money (because they’re not paying tipping fees to dump in landfill), it will create alternative businesses (commercial composting facilities and more pig farmers), and it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But, there are a number of barriers to be worked out before we can outright ban commercial food waste in the landfill—most of which involve how the State regulates commercial compost. For construction and demolition material, we just need to help ensure that there are recycling and re-use facilities available to handle the waste stream. Plastic recycling is always going to be a tough nut to crack, because the market for recycled plastic is rapidly contracting. While we should be prioritizing options for re-using plastic, such as Surfriders plan to create bricks out of it—ultimately, we need to do everything that we can to reduce our use of single use plastics.

Ed Justus
Source Reduction: food styrofoam & plastic utensil ban; create a home/business compost collection for agricultural use, since 60% of our landfill is already from compost. Landfill: With sea level rise concerns, we shouldn’t build another right next to the ocean. Recycling: Unfortunately, most is contaminated and unusable; we need to reexamine its effectiveness. Incineration is the final answer, but Hawaii cannot make waste-to-energy plants work, so the rest can be shipped to cities that can.

Arryl Kaneshiro
Waste is expensive to manage. The general fund subsidizes our solid waste operation in the amount of approximately $12.5 million. I am open to any and all environmentally friendly and cost effective ways to manage or reduce our solid waste. Ideally, I would love to see a cost effective method to mine our existing landfill, turn the old waste into energy, and then reuse the mined area. The County has several programs in place to extend the life of the landfill and divert as much trash as possible. For recycling, composting, and reuse programs to work, we each need to do our part and pitch in.

KipuKai Kualii
Recycling – I support 1) constructing a MRF, 2) curbside recycling & raising trash fees to fund it, & 3) education on the next two R’s (“Redesign” products & services to produce less waste & “Refuse” items that will generate unnecessary rubbish). I’m a co-sponsor on styrofoam ban & will likely support single use. Landfill Site – Expansion & mining of Kekaha Landfill gives us 35 more years. Maalo landfill site is on hold. Source Reduction – The County needs to lead the way in creating less waste. We need to purchase products with less packaging. We need more water fountains and refilling stations.

Wally Nishimura
I don’t think it’s a good idea to continue digging holes and putting trash into the ground. We need to have curbside recycling and a clean incinerator to power plant.

Jade Waialeale Battad
I support aggressive recycling and waste reduction. Landfilling should be a last option. And we should consider engaging private industry in many of those functions, in situations where it can do them more innovatively or more efficiently.

11. As a member of the County Council, what steps would you take to mitigate the impacts of climate change on Kauai?

Addison Bulosan
I believe the efforts we are focusing on is exactly what we should be doing which is tackling the big factors. Reducing carbon emissions by working towards 100% renewable energy. Converting county vehicles to electric vehicles. A big component that we can work towards is continuing to develop our town core centers. This will help reduce transportation emissions by creating multi-modal transportation, localize lifestyle, and create more efficient multi-use buildings in places with infrastructure. Every little effort we put towards taking care of our environment will continue to make a difference in our global challenge and will inspire others as well. My hope is that we can continue these efforts until new innovation in technologies can assist us helping our environment heal.

Bernard Carvalho Jr
I would continue to support the efforts of the Shoreline Set-back Ordinance which adds additional setbacks to new development and new structures. The County of Kauai has the most progressive set-back rules in the State, from 40 to 100 feet, depending on property, location and size. I would also support the efforts and meaning of the Aloha Plus Challenge which was embraced by government leadership that committed to creating a culture of sustainability which includes six targeted areas: Clean Energy; Local Food Production; Natural Resource Management, Waste Reduction, Green Workforce Education and Smart Sustainable Communities

Mason Chock 
There are many things the county is doing and can do more of moving forward. This includes: • Increase bus and shuttle services. We need to develop regional shuttles particularly to get our visitors out of rental cars. In addition we need to incentivize use of the bus to help people get out of their cars which are a huge contributor to climate change. • Invest in electrical vehicles and busses which are becoming increasingly competitive. The county has already begun this transition along with the installation of charging stations. • Enlist best practices for planning our island its outlying communities. We need to plan our communities well in a way that limits points of travel and supports multi-modes of traffic. • Redo maps identifying areas of impact by sea level rise, stop building and retreat where-ever possible with rezoning changes. We need to redraw setbacks and boundary lines for building in order to retreat from the sea. • Invest in coral regrowth projects. • Support the Aloha Plus Challenge on a much more integrated local scale through private-public partnerships • Develop our diversion programs including our non-organic composting programs. We need to act on our solid waste diversion plan. We need to consider alternative means of dealing with our waste. • We need to site a new landfill, ban recyclable materials for our landfill such as food waste and concrete and other items. • The county needs to join the crusade to litigate and hold liable our fossil fuels companies. • We need to plan for the future floods with our public safety agencies. We need to empower our communities and landowners by allowing access to maintain and clear the streams to keep us safe. • Once we can develop our cesspool transition plan with the state, we will be able to determine which homes will be eligible for county sewer in the future and which will not making it easier to determine how to subsidize through a revolving loan program or other repayment programs for the homes that will only have septic systems as their choice.”

Felicia Cowden
COVID19 helped us learn we can immediately act to mitigate the impacts of Climate Change by traveling and consuming less by all points of transportation. A locally-based economy, remote working and managing our watersheds helps us to be more safe. KIUC’s renewable energy program is remarkable. Encouraging efficient building design has value. The global carbon impacts of the military and tourism sectors dwarf individual contributions like electric cars. Serious change comes from big contributors.

Mike Dandurand
We must revisit the 2016 Climate Action Plan that was bought and paid for; and mitigate the problems which we will be facing in the near future. Such as: Rezone and limit permits to shoreline development. Create or Update Community-based emergency management plans. Establish relationships and plan with the Red Cross and all emergency volunteer organizations. Implement plans for emergency road ways if/when flooding occurs.

Luke Evslin
This is the $19 billion question (the estimated value of lost property value with 3.2’ of sea level rise). There are no great answers for how we’re going to manage the impacts of sea level rise—as our state highway system will end up underwater in places, potentially cutting off entire communities and we have no system in place to reimburse or even move property owners as their homes fall into the sea. Plus, ocean acidification and increasing water temperatures could lead to the collapse of our coral reefs which would collapse our nearshore fisheries. Plus, increasing range of mosquitos will kill off our last remaining forest birds in Koke’e. Plus, increasing storm events will not only put our lives at risk, but will suck up increasing amounts of state and county funding—leaving less room for social services and other necessary expenditures. Plus, mass migration from uninhabitable areas has the potential to destabilize our politics both locally and across the country. Plus, higher temperatures and extreme weather events will reduce crop output across the world. And we’re only scratching the surface here… so, certainly we need to do all we can to prepare, such as stronger set back ordinances, reducing allowable density along the coastline, ensuring that the county is not building infrastructure in a sea level rise exposure area, etc. But, at least as important as all of that is to reduce carbon emissions. At a local level, that means net zero emissions by 2050 through 100% renewable electricity, diverting food from our waste stream so it doesn’t decompose into methane in our landfill, increasing energy efficiency of buildings through fully implementing building codes such as IECC 2015, and decreasing emissions from transportation through both electrification and reducing VMT. With emissions from transportation rising and far outpacing all other sources, at a county level the best lever we have is to ensure that we’re building homes close to jobs so that people can at least have the option of finding affordable housing close to where they work to ensure a shorter commute. Some more of my thoughts on emissions reduction here https://medium.com/@luke.evslin/local-climate-policies-reduce-emissions-and-save-money-86ba887818fc and here https://medium.com/@luke.evslin/to-solve-the-climate-crisis-we-need-to-solve-the-housing-crisis-399867c8e9c1

Ed Justus
First, Bring Back Agriculture: For example, growing just one acre of corn removes 8 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere in a single growing season. This is far more effective than the guinea grass that covers ag land now. Secondly, Ban on County Purchasing Materials Made in China: China is the world’s largest polluter. It is better for the environment and for our economy that the County purchase goods & materials made in the USA whenever possible, prioritizing Hawaii & Kauai vendors first.

Arryl Kaneshiro
Kauai currently has one of the most robust shoreline setback ordinances in the country, which ensures that development does not negatively impact natural coastal erosion processes as well as marine life in and around the area. And, I am proud of that. This ordinance was implemented with most up-to-date scientific data available at the time; however, that data is quickly becoming stale. We need to be constantly vigilant with our scientific community and the data that they provide to ensure that this ordinance and others can adequately respond to climate change. We need to continue to use science, as the powerful tool to guide our future policies. So much of Kauai’s and Hawaii’s historical development has been around coastal and estuary areas, yet as the climate changes, and sea level rises, and the frequency and intensity of storms increase, we need to accept the fact that these coastal and estuarine areas are extremely vulnerable, and the further development of them is a massive liability to the industry and the County. Working on a systematic and realistic managed retreat for future development that is guided by sound science is in all of our best interest.

KipuKai Kualii
We need a Climate Action Plan. Our land use, capital improvements and all our programming needs to consider climate change impacts. We may need a bill that addresses innovations and new technologies like transitioning to an all-electric vehicle fleet. Not sure if we’re taking any actions other than incorporating sea level rise data into all our new community plans. While we’re getting a county-wide Climate Action Plan in place, we also need to ask Planning for recommendations for legislation that’ll help us address climate action and the necessary retreat from the shoreline inland.

Wally Nishimura
We need to move our infrastructure inland. Alternate routes won’t be just for traffic anymore but for the future with predicted models showing sea level rise.

Jade Waialeale Battad
Mitigation alone is not enough. Climate change has so many factors. Some of its impacts are already here, and more are coming. We must reduce the impacts of those of our activities that increase the problem. That can include fuel efficiency and renewable energy—our own utility, KIUC, is a world leader in this arena and shows what a small community can do. We also need to act personally to conserve and to live efficiently. And as a community, we must plan for the unavoidable impacts of climate change—things like identifying inland highway routes and ensuring our farmers have water for irrigation in a time of reduced rainfall. At the Council, at every meeting and in every planning session, we must identify opportunities to grapple with climate change and do the right thing for our community.

12. Do you support the continued use of the G.E.T. surcharge and how would you prioritize roads and transportation spending?

Addison Bulosan
Yes, I support the GET surcharge and will work with our department of public works to become more efficient in addressing our road systems. As our budget begins to be squeezed due to COVID-19, we will need to be innovative and effective in our roadwork and management. We have high priority areas that have high traffic regardless of tourism and after consulting with our team our goal will be to address these challenges and communicate that with our community so we are all working cohesively.

Bernard Carvalho Jr
I support the continued use of the G.E.T. surcharge to support repair, maintenance and infrastructure work of our County roads. It is also especially important that we secure additional funding similar to our efforts in securing a $15.1 million Tiger Grant (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) in 2015 from the U.S. Department of Transportation which took dedicated teamwork and partnerhips at all government levels

Mason Chock
Yes. It is the only realistic means for funding the maintenance of our county roads. We already have a priority list based on need. We need to stick to the plan and follow through with completing what we set out to do. We are only in the first year of actually receiving and utilizing the GET funds and are on the cusp of taking on some of the big issue roads like Maalo and Koloa Rd. Once we catch up and complete the required maintenance of our roads, I would consider eliminating the GET surcharge. Transportation receives a much smaller percentage of the GET fund, and we need to continue to provide services particularly in this economic crisis where it is much more financially feasible to catch the bus than to have a car.

Felicia Cowden
Yes, I support the continued use of the GET surcharge and would give our current strategy of spending the majority on long-needed road repair more time to have an impact. This income is flexible with each budget cycle. If the transportation demand shifts from cars on broken roads to higher demand for buses, we can offer more times and routes, particularly on the half hour.

Mike Dandurand
The GET surcharge should be continued to support our infrastructure. I believe we need to hold our road contractors accountable for better quality roads. With that being said, Kaua’i would benefit greatly by increasing it’s public transportation service and gearing toward the visitor industry. 

Luke Evslin
We have a $300 million backlog in deferred maintenance on our roadway network. The G.E.T surcharge has added approximately $24 million annually to our budget to help pay for roads and public transportation and it’s impossible to argue that that revenue isn’t necessary. But, it is very literally the worst form of taxation—in that it is highly regressive. I do not support continued use of the G.E.T. after the initial ten year sunset and would prefer to see those funds raised through a combination of higher gas/vehicle weight taxes along with higher property taxes on vacant properties. For me, the bottom line is that as much as possible, users of the roads should pay for the roads. We shouldn’t be transferring the burden of road maintenance on our lowest income families (who are much less likely to drive a lot) through the excise tax. But, because our land use patterns have forced many people to live far from work because we don’t build enough housing close to jobs, I also recognize that we need to ensure that people can find affordable housing close to work before we begin significantly raising the gas tax. For me, I feel like we have until the excise tax sunsets in 7 years to ensure a) a more equitable distribution of taxes and b) more options for people to live close to where they work. In the meantime, I think that it’s vital that we do not engage in any significant road widening or new road projects—because we will saddle ourselves with even more road maintenance debt that we can’t afford. For comparison, the county spends approximately seven times more on roads than on affordable housing on Kaua’i. More of my thoughts on the excise tax here: https://www.civilbeat.org/2016/02/luke-evslin-dont-punish-the-poor-by-raising-excise-taxes/ and here: https://www.civilbeat.org/2016/01/in-kauai-lets-not-go-down-the-same-old-road/

Ed Justus 
The impact of increased tourist travel on our roads demands we have the funds to improve and fix them, so the GET surcharge is one way. Heavily travelled roads are in desperate need of repair and should ideally rebuilt with superior materials that can handle the traffic load. For example, as much as Papalina Road in Kalaheo where I live had issues, I would have rather seen those repairs go to the terrible situation on Koloa Road first. Our main routes need to be dealt with first.

Arryl Kaneshiro
Yes, I was a huge proponent for the GET surcharge when it was in front of council. It is never a popular vote to increase taxes, but ultimately my decision weighed on the question of “what is my responsibility?” I did not feel it was appropriate to pass our road burden on to future generations, we needed to do something about it now. The longer we did nothing, the greater our obligation would be, and the harder it would be to catch up. Our roads were in dire shape and still are. We were facing a backlog of road and bridge work well over $100 million dollars with a budget of only $1.2 million per year. The surcharge was the only opportunity we had to realistically address our backlog and also spread the tax burden to the visitor industry. Without it, there would be no way we would have the resources to address roads like Maluhia and Koloa, which are in desperate need of reconstruction. We should also save money in the long run because we can start taking a pro-active approach to road maintenance rather than reactive and needing to completely replace roads in disrepair. It will be the Council’s job to ensure that the Administration implements and follows its roadway improvement plan to make the most of our taxpayer dollars.

KipuKai Kualii
I did not support the G.E.T. It’s a regressive tax hurting the poorest the most; the kupuna living on social security or the single mom on govt. assistance. Further taxing bread, milk, eggs and so on is wrong. This happened because of bad management over time with regards to our road repairs and resurfacing. While this surcharge is in place, our County must maximize the amount of the roads backlog it can get to; as well as utilize the transportation funding to drastically improve efficiencies at our Kaua`i Bus. Whether in office or not, I will work against any G.E.T. extension after it sunsets.

Wally Nishimura
Yes. All of our current roads need to be repaired. Once that is completed I would look to that source of revenue to fund alternate routes.

Jade Waialeale Battad
I hesitate to support the continued additional taxation of the surcharge, but some of our transportation issues are so severe that in the short term, I also hesitate to advocate for removing it. I think we need a thorough review of our transportation priorities, given issues like electric cars, driverless vehicle technology, climate change and changing patterns of residential housing growth. Then we can make decisions about how to allocate funding.

13. What else would you like to share with the business community?

Addison Bulosan
For the last 6 years I’ve had the honor and privilege to work with many of you as a fellow small business owner with The Specific Chiropractic Centers and Tasting Kauai. In addition I’ve been able to focus on the community through my service as a President of the Rice Street Business Association, Vice President of Lihue Business Association, board member of Kauai Chamber of commerce, past board member of Workforce Development, and past board member of Kauai Filipino Chamber of Commerce. It has been truly inspiring to be able to collaborate and work with all of you in addressing the community issues we face together. But we are not done. In fact, we are just getting started. Although the challenges ahead look daunting, we are going to be alright. In fact, we are going to be more than alright. I know this because we’ve got a great team of people to work with and I know we will collectively rise up to the challenge and create a better place for those who follow us. So with that said, thank you. I appreciate all that you are doing and continue to do for our community. Let’s go to work.

Mason Chock
In addition to my role at council as the Planning Committee Chairman, In 2019, I have been serving as the Kauai representative of the Western Association of Counties which is focused on how we can bring local issues to the national floor. Such focus has involved me in hazard mitigation efforts as it relates to our flood, fire and sea level rise so that we can better manage our watersheds, plan for our roads, housing and infrastructure. I have been actively engaging with organizations such as the Army Corp of Engineers and other Federal entities to ensure Kauai is not forgotten. I have also been active in introducing housing initiatives such as the additional rental unit incentive package and guest house conversions and have even begun planning workforce housing for educators. I have been successful at supporting tax relief to properties that have ownership ties and helped to ease the burdensome process to accessing these exemptions. Lastly, I have passed resolutions gaining access to our beloved beaches and introduced a polystyrene ban county wide. If you visit my website, mason4kauai.org will find more details on the bills I introduced and passed, resolutions that I introduced and passed, measures that I supported and items that I am working on. As you know, In addition to legislating, our job as council members extend into budget oversight. I have been active in not only solidifying a balanced budget, but also securing a stable future for our county without raising property taxes on our local residents. Through my work with the Hawaii Association of Counties, I have addressed abuses in overtime, helped to establish a community led Kauai shuttle system, initiated internal performance audits, and increased efficiencies in our abandoned and derelict vehicle program. Most recently, in response to Covid-19 I took action to secure funding for Kauai Makerspace to print thousands of faceshields for our healthcare and first responders. I was also able to engage over forty seamstresses to make over 500 cloth masks. I also helped coordinate funding for a meals program called Nourish which continues to serve those in most need today. I also, led the Kauai Economic Recovery Strategy Team, Education Sector gathering over fifeteen education stakeholders to provide eight recommendations within the plan.

Felicia Cowden
It has been an honor to serve as your councilmember in this first term in office. I am able to place my entire focus on council responsibilities in this phase of life with grown children and no competing job or business. I Put People First by considering the unintended consequences behind policy decisions that have parallel beneficial intentions. We need balance in our policy choices with the goal to build broad prosperity and resilience. Our people need to thrive rather than simply survive.

Mike Dandurand
My work experience is a broad spectrum. I have worked with every type of client. My well-known Dj company, Kustom Sounds Kauai,  has been performing for local residents and businesses for over 33 years. 

Luke Evslin
I founded an outrigger canoe manufacturing company 13 years ago with two of my closest friends from Kaua’i High. Our dream was to have the business be on Kaua’i—but for a number of reasons (outlined more in the link below), that’s proven impossible and we had to start our business on O’ahu. And so I had to choose between living on Kaua’i or continuing to run my business. That’s not a choice that we should be forcing our next generation to make. Luckily, after four years on O’ahu I was able to come home and manage finance, sales, and customer service remotely while my partner managed production—and that flexibility is what’s enabled me to also be a councilmember. I’ve now been co-managing my company for 9 years, and our business continues to survive while employing 20 people. I understand the daily struggle of making ends meet and I am here to fight for small businesses every single day. Small businesses are the backbone of our community and, especially during this time of COVID-19, we need to ensure that we’re giving them all the support we can. For more of my thoughts on local business: https://oiwi.tv/news/death-of-local-manufacturing/ For my full website: https://www.lukeevslin.com/

Ed Justus
We have many town cores that need revitalization. The County can create these into opportunity zones to incentivize the restoration and rebuilding of dilapidated or missing buildings. This would create places for new small businesses to open up and be able to provide services for their community. We can offer fast-track permitting processes, infrastructure assistance, and possibly even temporary public-private partnerships to get things off the ground. Prioritize our existing communities first.

Arryl Kaneshiro
I am running for Kauai County Council because I care about Kauai and I care about its future. I bring with me my business and accounting acumen, six years of experience on the council as Chair of the budget, my commitment to community service, and the values and principles that were instilled in me from family, teachers, coaches, and the community. Growing up here, I believe I can represent the people of Kauai and Niihau well because I am a regular, everyday Kauai resident who works hard and wants to make the best life for myself and my family. I would be humbled and honored to have your vote and serve out my final term in office.

KipuKai Kualii
We need to increase our water security. HCF helped create the Hawai`i Fresh Water Initiative. The goal is to create 100 million gallons per day in additional, reliable fresh water capacity by 2030. The 3 aggressive water strategies we have to take on are Conservation, Recharge and Reuse. We need to… 1) change how we build our homes; building in gray water systems for our toilets & irrigation; 2) ensure our forests are healthy so they can recharge our aquifers; 3) increase storm water capture; 4) have rainwater catchment systems; and, 5) utilize more native plants to help conserve fresh water.

Wally Nishimura
Most of my experience comes from the private sector. It is my goal to make business successful on Kauai especially for the locals.

Jade Waialeale Battad
This community has nurtured me for my whole life, and I hope I will be given the opportunity to step up and give some of that nurturing back through service on the County Council. My commitment is to consider the impacts on all our people—including those of our keiki yet unborn—in every decision.