Full name: K. Raina Whiting
Name on ballot: Raina Whiting
District / office: Hawaii Island County Council District 6
Current job: Kindergarten teacher
Place of birth: United States
Campaign website: voteraina.com
Job history past 10 years:
Kindergarten teacher, state Department of Education.
Democratic Party of Hawaii State Central Committee member, national delegate, District 5 vice chairwoman, Precinct president and environmental caucus at-large member.
Teach for America Corps member. Board member, Hawaii Technology Academy. Office of Sen. Russell Ruderman, legislative aide. Aikea Movement/UNITE Here Local 5, organizer. Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, legal advocate. Americorps member. Paralegal, offices of Carl Varady
Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?
I have worked on campaigns previously. Most recently I worked on the successful campaign for Tim Vandeveer to chair the Democratic Party of Hawaii. I also campaigned to be a national delegate to the Democratic Party. I am the only elected delegate from Big Island.
Other civic experience or community service?
Founder and director, In The Streets, a human rights group.
Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?
I believe elected officials should be action- and service-oriented. I am committed to running a campaign that is 100 percent community supported and driven. If elected, I pledge to be available and active in my community in order to ensure that the voices of my district are represented.
What makes you qualified to be a Council member?
I have worked as a legislative aide in the Senate, been a community organizer for social and political justice, worked on political campaigns and served as a legislative advocate for education in our state. I am an active community member and believe in community service.
What are your top five priorities for the county?
1. Zero waste implementation and full-service waste management
2. Access to services, keiki to kupuna
3. Ethical leadership legislation to ensure proper representation by our elected officials
4. Cultural and environmental advocacy, access to land, resources, water
5. Green and sustainable development aligned to the Community Development Plan
What is your one big idea?
Ethical leadership that serves our communities needs. We must hold our elected officials accountable. We should reform laws that govern elections so that they empower people by making sure elected officials are beholden only to the communities in which they serve.
The Hilo landfill is nearing capacity. When it closes, should trash from East Hawaii be hauled to the Puuanahulu landfill, or not? Please explain.:
We must begin to look to the future and create solutions for our waste management. Big Island should be the front-runner in zero waste implementation — this would decrease the pressure and impending closure of the Hilo landfill.
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? Please explain.:
I support the Hele-On bus system and want to ensure that it can continue to serve our communities. I support the fare being left the same because it is an affordable way for folks to travel. I would support an increase in fares if the system was expanded.
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? Please explain.:
Yes, I would support an increase in county gas tax if we could be ensured that the increase went to support maintenance of county roads and the Hele-On bus system.