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Why I am running for KIUC’s board of directors

I love being a problem-solver. I feel blessed to have a natural ability to analyze a situation and come up with solutions, especially in situations that call for a sense of urgency. Life examples are my training and deployments in the United States Marine Corps and ocean life-guarding, where I had to watch a hundred people in the water and analyze who might be at risk. If you get it wrong, people die. In addition, I love numbers and trends. I follow, I mean, I follow all the news on climate change, sea-level rise AND all the possible new green technology that can mitigate and lessen the worst part of climate change, if we act fast enough.

My wife and I live in Wailua, and we had our honeymoon here in 1999. We were very grateful to be able to move here in 2001, as there was an opening for a child protective social worker. Being a father of two daughters, I have a passion for keiki and for defending those whose voices are not always heard. One of my main drives for running for the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative board of directors came after watching “Ice on Fire.” I highly recommend you watch this well-done documentary using this free link: It features all the latest challenges and solutions and, most importantly, the many scientists who have spent their entire lives studying climate change and concluding that we only have about 10 years left to avoid the worst effects of CC. That’s where KIUC comes in. They are world leaders when it comes to transitioning to RE (renewable energy).

Dad always said you can be part of the solution or part of the problem. I would love to see the board and CEO be more vocal and use their influence for positive change. One example, of many, would be to study the total cost of ownership of electric vehicles vs. fossil fuel cars and trucks.

Today, most new electric cars and trucks are cheaper to own over five years then fossil fuel Ford F-150s. So, why are we still buying the exact things that are making our climate worst and costing KIUC and the county more money to adapt?

Same with the Water Department, Kaua‘i Police Department, Kaua‘i Fire Department, etc. This is where it starts to get really exciting, because more demand for EVs will allow KIUC to add more RE faster and bring rates down for everyone, AND Kaua‘i will have cleaner air to breath. That’s why I’m donating my KIUC stipend pay to get EV chargers in multifamily and low-income housing. I understand this is a big shift, and that it is what the experts say we need to do.

Don’t forget there’s great news and opportunity with this shift. Another fun action step we can take is to turn our annual meeting into a big electric exposition. Let’s seriously partner with all the folks who are trying to be part of the solution. Let’s call all the EV clubs and car dealers on the island and have them come out for a big ride-and-drive event.

Maybe there are some local bands and food trucks that could come out in force that want to have a party to fight climate change. Let’s invite all our leaders and they can test drive these EVs. During the actual meeting, the CEO and/or special speakers can update the audience on climate change and the EVs KIUC are buying or considering buying. Maybe it can grow to include some EV racing at the Westside track or a race to the top of Koke‘e.

These types of events are really catching on around the world. Sounds like fun. Are you in? Great, then please vote for me, as it’s always good to know someone in power (pun intended). Having achieved incredible strides in renewable energy so far, what is the future for electricity and energy generation on Kaua‘i?

It’s hard for most of us to imagine how the effects of climate change will be for us on Kaua‘i in the future. We cannot afford to be complacent and sit on our laurels and pat ourselves as we celebrate going to 55% RE last year or 70% soon. We need to press on and embrace new technology that comes along.

I’ve been taught in the business that you can have excuses or you can have results, but you can’t have both. Personally, I run all the excuses through this filter: I imagine talking to my future grandkids in 2050 (if I make it that long), and having them ask me, “Papa Steve, tell us why people didn’t move faster on climate change?” Most of our excuses won’t sound very solid when that generation is facing a harsher and harsher climate. However, any changes we make today will help this generation as well as the next.

In closing, just a quick note on Tesla being a little misunderstood and as a result, they still have a few haters hanging on. It’s good to know why Elon Musk launched Tesla in the first place. “Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” which should be a goal for all of us. Why? Global warming. In addition, Tesla is a great American business success story. Tesla has pushed the other large automotive makers to move faster on this as well as their Solar Glass Roof 3.0, and their power-storage products like the Powerwall 2. So, they should be given some credit for focusing on the solution and helping us all save money.

In fact, Tesla’s solar farm in partnership with KIUC has already saved us all money on our power bills. Lastly, they do a lot of good around the world in places like Puerto Rico and Australia, giving them vision and resources for transitioning off fossil fuel faster and cheaper than anyone thought possible. Thanks Tesla.

Lastly, my name is Steve Parsons, and I’m running for KIUC’s board of directors. The Marine Corps motto is “Semper Fidelis,” or “Semper Fi,” and it means “always faithful.” If you want a hard-charging Gulf War Marine veteran with a passion for fighting climate change, who will work hard to bring rates down and prioritize cleaner air to breathe, please vote for me. Why? Semper Fi.


Steve Parsons is a resident of Wailua.
Source: The Garden Island

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