comscore District 04 - Michael R. Bernard

District 04 – Michael R. Bernard

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Full Name: Michael R. Bernard

Name on Ballot: Michael R. Bernard

Age: 70

District / office: Hawaii County Council, District 4

Email Address:

Current Job: Instructor, Hawaii Community College

Place of birth: Fall River, Mass.

Campaign website:

Job history past 10 years:

Instructor, Hawaii Community College, Speech & Communication

Realtor, Portland, Ore.

Consultant, Big Island, Hawaii SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business”

Director of Communications for a high-tech company which assists businesses to reach, expand and develop their client bases.

Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?

As a volunteer in communities for over 40 years, I chose to focus on community service while teaching special needs students, managing substance abuse programs, directing marketing and communication departments for small and medium size companies, and teaching at the Community College and University levels. I would now like to put those experiences to use as a County Council member. With a budget of nearly half a billion dollars, the Hawaii County Council and the District of Puna can use my combined experiences to insure transparency, efficiency of scale and a focus on infrastructure development.

Other civic experience or community service?

Hawaii SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business”

Hawaiian Paradise Park Neighborhood Watch, board member

Asia & Pacific Island Wellness Center

Native American Youth and Family Center

Ronald McDonald House Corporate Sponsor

Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?

With combined business/education/volunteer experience in budget, grant writing and business development, I humbly ask District 4 to provide the opportunity to serve you in a responsible and transparent manner. I will work for you, to accomplish your community goals with respect for your values, cultures, and beliefs.

What makes you qualified to be a Council member?

With budget reaching nearly half a billions dollars, I pledge to insure District 4, Puna receives its fair share of services, programs and infrastructure appropriate to its growing, diverse population. As a teacher, businessman, community volunteer, with experience in budgeting, marketing, grant writing, let’s move into 2017 with confidence.

What are your top five priorities for the county?

1. Small business development through grants, community service coordination and sound use of established business practices.

2. Master plan to address the district’s infrastructure needs.

3. Focus on expanding police ‘beat’ patrols.

4. Strong anti-squatter processes to protect our neighborhoods.

5. County management of major subdivision roads.

What is your one big idea?

Developing a multicultural exposition program and center to include community demonstration/teaching gardens for students, day-time cruise ship attraction, expanded farmers’ market, to highlight Puna’s rich cultural heritage while offering training, jobs and small business development.

The Hilo landfill is nearing capacity. When it closes, should trash from East Hawaii be hauled to the Puuanahulu landfill, or not?

The landfill issue is pressing and long overdue. Putting trash into trucks, using valuable, imported fuel while destroying our roads seems counter-intuitive. This may provide a short-term ‘solution’ while again kicking the problem down the road. Develop long-term, sensible, best-practices based master plan.

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?

Firsthand exposure to this issue, knowing that Hele-On provided many of my Community College Students with the only transportation available to obtain an education, continue to subsidize fares for needy students, kupuna and low-income riders. Certainly, the county can look at other avenues to conserve. No-brainer.

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?

Our gas tax may be lower than other counties, however, as a resident of the fastest growing district yet the area with the neediest residents, I am hesitant to add to their already high financial burdens

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