Full Name: Karen Sue Eoff
Name on Ballot: Karen S. Eoff
District / office: District 8 Hawaii County Council
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Job: Hawaii County Council Member – District 8, North Kona
Place of birth: California
Campaign website: www.kareneoff.com
Job history past 10 years:
2006 – 2012: Legislative assistant, Hawaii County Council
2012 – 2014: Council member, District 8 North Kona, vice chairwoman of the Council
2014 – 2016: Council member, District 8 North Kona, chairwoman of the Finance Committee
Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?
Yes, I ran for Hawaii County Council in 2012 and was elected.
I ran again in 2014 and was re-elected.
I currently serve on the the Hawaii County Council representing District 8, North Kona
Other civic experience or community service?
I worked as a legislative assistant to the Council
I served as secretary to the 2008-2010 Charter Commission
I served as secretary to the 2011 County Redistricting Commission
I am a founding member and past president of the Kohanaiki ‘Ohana, working on land use issues to protect our natural and cultural resources and the public trust. From 1990s to the present, I have helped organize and coordinate an Annual Trail Restoration Project with Kealakehe eighth-grade students, an Anchialine Pond Restoration Project with West Hawaii Explorations Academy students and the very popular Keiki Surf for the Earth Contest at Kohanaiki, now in its 21st year.
Our community’s work to protect this beautiful stretch of coastline led to two Supreme Court victories and a legislative act to require that cultural impact statements accompany environmental impact statements for all development in the state of Hawaii. At Kohanaiki, these efforts have led to a Good Faith Agreement and the creation of a public shoreline park dedicated to the County of Hawaii and managed by a three-way partnership between the community, the landowners and the county.
In 1999 I was the recipient of the Soroptimist International “Woman of Distinction Award” in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Kona community.
Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve on the County Council and I look forward to continuing my service. I have good listening skills, I believe in public participation and open transparent government. I am willing to work cooperatively with my fellow councilmembers and with the administration.
What makes you qualified to be a Council member?
I have a college degree from the University of California and a paralegal certificate from University of Hawaii-Hilo. I have eight years of experience working as a staff person in the legislative branch , and have served as the elected representative on the County Council for District 8 for two terms.
What are your top five priorities for the county?
I support projects with a direct community benefit. The most pressing need for our community now is to make sure that growth is balanced with continued infrastructure improvements, open space and parks. My top priorities for our county include creating affordable housing, renewable energy, addressing homelessness, zero waste and composting.
What is your one big idea?
Community Development Plans have been adopted by ordinance and reflect the combined efforts of the communities, professional planners, government and private enterprise. They are visionary documents that should be implemented as growth and development occur on our island. General Plan and Zoning Code amendments are needed to address inconsistencies.
The Hilo landfill is nearing capacity. When it closes, should trash from East Hawaii be hauled to the Puuanahulu landfill, or not?
The county has initiated an organics processing facility project at the Hilo Landfill and the construction of an organics receiving and processing facility at the West Hawaii Landfill. This will eliminate much of the solid waste going into the Hilo Landfill and may require the hauling of trash from Puuanahulu.
The basic fare for the Hele-On bus system is $2, but the system still requires taxpayer subsidies to operate. The county has demonstrated that a lower fare can increase ridership. Should the fare be reduced, increased or left the same?
The basic fare for the Hele-On is $2, however students, senior citizens and disabled riders pay a discounted $1 fare, and children under 5 are free. Prepaid tickets sell for $15 for 10 passes, and monthly passes cost $60. I think this should be left the same for now.
The gasoline tax in Hawaii County is now 8.8 cents per gallon, about half that of Kauai, Maui and Oahu. Do you support increasing the county gas tax to provide more funding for maintenance of county roads and the Hele-On bus system?
I do not support an increase at this time, however, there may come a time that we would have to look at that option. Due to the size of Hawaii island, there are many many miles of roads needing repair and maintenance and increasing the fuel tax would be necessary.