Full Name: Marlene M. Hapai
Name on Ballot: Marlene Hapai (Nachbar)
District / office: County of Hawaii Mayor
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Job: Educational consultant/property manager
Place of birth: Ahualoa, Hawaii
Job history past 10 years:
Executive director, Imiloa Astronomy Center
Biology professor emeritus, UH-Hilo – Retired
Science curriculum writer, UH-Manoa, College of Education, CRDG
St. Joseph School Institutional Advancement Project, Hilo
Co-owner/business manager, The Andrade Building, Honokaa
Meeting Science Standards Through Inquiry, grant writer and project coordinator, No Child Left Behind grant
Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?
Yes. 2010 state Representative District 4 – Not elected
2012 state Representative District 3 – Not elected
Other civic experience or community service?
Puna Regional Preparedness Fair co-chairwoman, 2013,2014
PCDP Connectivity and Emergency Response Subcommittee chairwoman
Pacific Tsunami Museum Board
Hui Malama Ola Na Oiwi Native Hawaiian Health Care System Board
Hawaii Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, junior/senior vice president, president
Alumni & Friends St. Joseph School, president/board chairwoman
Hawaii Island Retired Teachers Association president
University of Hawaii Board of Regents
Hawaii District Science & Engineering Fair Director (30 years)
VFW Post 3830 Auxiliary, junior/senior vice president, trustee, member
Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?
BA Biology, Gonzaga University; MS and Ph.D. UH-Manoa, entomology; UH Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Teaching; 2004 National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges Award for Distinguished Service and Valuable Leadership; 2005 HIPCC Leader of the Year Award; 2010 St. Joseph School Outstanding Leader Award
What makes you qualified to be mayor?
My strong background in administration, science and community organization leadership: Chairwoman, UH-Hilo Natural Sciences (grew programs), associate dean, UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (reorganized college), director Imiloa Astronomy Center (built center), UH regent (managed $1.2 billion budget); able to respond quickly to natural disasters; developed community input model applicable to all districts
What are your top five priorities for the county?
1. Health and safety, addressing badly needed infrastructure and emergency preparedness: roads/alternate routes, shelters, communications technology
2. Collaboration at all levels of government
3. Productive Public/Private/Non-Profit Partnerships
4. New resource acquisition and maximize use of existing resources
5. Create a welcome business environment using CDPs
What is your one big idea?
To make Hawaii island a safer and healthier place to live. Hawaii County presently leads all counties nationwide as No. 1 for natural hazards that can happen simultaneously. Being proactive by having emergency preparedness fairs islandwide plus focusing on badly needed infrastructure will create a safer environment for residents and visitors.
The Hilo landfill is nearing capacity. When it closes, should trash from East Hawaii be hauled to the Puuanahulu landfill, or not?
No. We need to find sites throughout the island that can accommodate different types of waste to reduce landfill trash, find new landfill sites and establish reuse and recycle stations throughout the island applicable to different areas such as co-composting green waste and sewage sludge in agricultural areas.
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?
Because the Big Island is so large I think we could consider fares proportionate to distance traveled to increase ridership with lower fares for those traveling shorter distances and higher fares for those travelling farther. Buses need to be affordable for those without transportation, but riders must help support it.
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 prefer to consider raising taxes only when there are no alternatives. There are federal highway grant funds available to help improve our roads and also roads heavily used for federal purposes that we can seek funding for and thus release county funds for other road additions or improvements.