Full Name: Walter K.M. Lau
Name on Ballot: Wally Lau
District / office: Mayor County of Hawaii
Email Address: email@example.com
Current Job: Candidate for mayor of Hawaii island
Place of birth: Honolulu
Campaign website: www.wallylau.com
Job history past 10 years:
Managing director, County of Hawaii
Deputy managing director, County of Hawaii
Executive director, Neighborhood Place of Kona
Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?
Other civic experience or community service?
Hawaii Island United Way, board member
Kipuka O Ke Ola, board member (nonprofit addressing health disparities in the Native Hawaiian community)
Royal Order of Kamehameha
Blueprint for Change, board member (focus on child abuse prevention)
Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?
I was raised in a large family, which instilled in me the values of respect, fairness, humility, honesty and aloha. I will use these values to navigate the issues facing Hawaii Island and balance the needs of our people, our economy and our environment.
What makes you qualified to be mayor?
I served seven years as deputy managing director and then managing director overseeing the operations of Hawaii County. Together with our Cabinet and hard-working employees, we managed the budget, streamlined operations, built roads and parks islandwide. My administration will listen to our community, be fair and get things done.
What are your top five priorities for the county?
I will engage the community to care better for our homeless, maintain and improve our economy and our county roads, parks, facilities and open spaces islandwide and improve county permitting and licensing process, as well as ensure public safety meets and reflects the island’s growing needs.
What is your one big idea?
My vision is to balance what is pono, or right, for our people, our economy and our environment by listening to and being responsive to the people of the community — the people of Hawaii island.
The Hilo landfill is nearing capacity. When it closes, should trash from East Hawaii be hauled to the Puuanahulu landfill, or not?
Hauling solid waste to Puuanahulu from Hilo would be done only as a last resort, after all other alternatives — including waste stream reduction though the zero waste policies of reduce, reuse and recycle — have been exhausted.
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?
Public transit will always require subsidies. The Hele-On system is unique in the ground it covers — the most popular route is Hilo to the Kohala Coast resorts, nearly 80 miles. $2 is a fair share for riders to pay, which drops to $1 for students, seniors, and riders with disabilities.
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. Investing additional resources in our roads and bus system would benefit our community. However, a gasoline tax would hit Hawaii island residents and businesses harder than those on other islands because of the greater distances we travel.