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HOOSER: Results of policy and politics exercise

I wrote last week, “Contact each council candidate, ask them your questions, share your concerns, and compare their responses (or lack thereof) before making your final voting decision.”

So I did.

I sent a short email to each of the 17 candidates running for election to the Kaua`i County Council asking for their thoughts on a handful of issues. In the subject line I put “Questions from a voter.”

So far, one week later, I’ve received four responses.

I sent a second follow-up email just in case the first one got lost.

Seventeen candidates for the Kaua`i County Council and 4 four took the time to respond to my very basic (and friendly in tone) email.

Needless to say, I’m impressed with the four and appreciate the courtesy they’ve shown by taking the time to respond.

Mahalo to incumbent council members Addison Bulosan and Felicia Cowden for your personal, prompt and thoughtful response to my questions and concerns.

Mahalo also to new council candidates Fern Holland and Abe Apilado Jr. for likewise being responsive to my outreach.

From each of the four responses I learned something valuable.

Council member Bulosan reinforced my understanding that he does his homework, thinks through various options, and then seeks a collaborative path forward toward solutions.

Council member Cowden’s response demonstrated clearly her high level of empathy for all who live in our community. Her commitment to “show up” and engage with the community is unquestionable.

New candidate Fern Holland is a change maker, an incredibly hard worker, and someone who thrives on problem solving and community collaboration. She doesn’t wait for the community to get involved but knows the importance of actively reaching out and engaging them in the process.

Fern’s response was “forward-thinking,” reflecting an attitude of abundance rather than scarcity.

Abe Apilado Jr. is also running for election to the council and responded saying, “I will humbly bow out of answering questions via email … however I will be doing voter registration pop ups … from time to time … Maybe we can talk story then.”

While initially taken aback by his response, the fact that he took the time and courtesy to reply — motivated me to look him up.

What I found on FaceBook was a video campaign announcement demonstrating on no uncertain terms that Abe Apilado Jr. has a huge heart. While I am not clear about what other skills or qualifications he may hold, his underlying motivation to serve the community is solid.

These four candidates responded to this voters email outreach and consequently have earned my added attention and appreciation.

As to the other 13, why they failed to respond I do not know.

Perhaps they’re busy, in poor health, traveling, or their email is not working properly, or they “don’t do email”, or maybe they just think it doesn’t matter.

Easy accessibility is a fundamental attribute needed for anyone trying to earn the votes of people in the community. No legislator, council member, or candidate, should be too busy to check their email and get back promptly to a constituent or voter who reaches out.


Gary Hooser served eight years in the state Senate, where he was majority leader. He also served for eight years on the Kaua‘i County Council. He presently writes on Hawai‘i Policy and Politics at
Source: The Garden Island

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