Name on ballot:
Hawaii county council – District 9
Small Business Owner, Educator & Artist
Previous job history:
Faculty- University of Northern Iowa, Project Coordinator- Camp Adventure World Services, Executive Director- Kinetic Energy Schools of Movement & Music, Educator – Innovations Public Charter School, Educator – Hualalai Academy, Regional Coordinator – ACDFA, Owner -EMotion Galleries
Previous elected office, if any:
Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.
My qualifications include experience as a small business owner, education in public policy as well as a connection with the people of Hawai’i County. The last 20 years of my life has been spend as a small business owner and I also work part time for the Hawaii Department of Education. My business is in the service and tourism industry along the Kohala Coast which has allowed me to develop many relationships within our community. I earned a M.A. in Youth & Human Services Administration. In graduate school I studied a great deal of public policy, conducted research and completed internships in government and non-profits. The most important qualification that I have to represent North and South Kohala is my willingness to listen to the people and share the concerns of District 9 constituents in the legislature.
What will be your top priority if elected?
My goal is to bring a better balance to Hawai’i by improve efficiency, streamlining government, embracing the use of technology, developing reliable infrastructure and communicating with transparency to the community. In the council my intention is to incentivize best practices and reduce the regulatory barriers placed on our small business as well as our local food producers and for our county government to become more user friendly for the people of Hawaii Island.
As Hawaii faces the COVID-19 pandemic, what more should county government do to protect residents’ health?
Communication, education and providing access to needed services is what county government should do more of to protect residents’ health. Use of restroom facilities and beach access as well as socially distanced outdoor activities must be available because clean water, exercise, sunshine, fresh air and a connection with the nature are all healthy; and in my opinion essential. For the health of our community businesses and safety of our community groups we need a plan: If This, Then That. I want to see our local government release a plan to the public based on numbers of cases, cluster outbreaks and location of infections so we are all accountable for our future. For example: If X/Y/Z numbers of cases of C19 occur we will proceed with respective protocol E/F/G. If we knew we as a community are held accountable to hold our numbers at X so that we can operate with E protocol then we can all plan how to scale and operate our lives. I do not like the current way of announcements dictating- we will see how it goes and our politicians will let you know if we can open at the first day of some month sometime in the future. I do not want politicians determining our fate behind closed doors without transparency, and then dictating what we are “allowed” to do. Empower the people to be part of the solution. The information released from the county should be in plain speak and easy to understand. We need clarity, education and communication so parents, teachers, laborers and business owners can plan with safety in mind. We must work as a community to keep each other healthy. Again we must encourage and empower the people to be part of the solution.
What should county government do to help residents who have been economically affected by the pandemic?
We must write grants, reduce taxing and become more fiscally responsible at the county level. We must be proactive in seeking funds through grant writing. There are opportunities for funding assistance for various subpopulations of people in our community. At the county level we should be embracing technology to handle certain tasks and source more of our staff to write grants. The county should also offer community members education to learn the skills of grant writing so we empower the people to be part of the solution. The county could also support private public partnerships in training a job force that can seek work in mainland companies that are now encouraging a work from home culture. In terms of curbing the tax burden of the people, the county already hiked taxes when the economy was booming; it will hurt a lot of people to increase taxes when the economy is in a downturn. I would go as far to suggest reducing some taxes to help residents who have been economically affected by the pandemic such as making locally grown produce and locally sourced protein exempt from the County Surcharge on General Excise Tax. This would help the local food producers compete with imports and the lower the cost of food for the residents of Hawai’i County. The county must become more fiscally responsible and lead by example in reducing spending as we can no longer burden the people with excess county spending and a lack of transparency of our county budget.
Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and what should the county government’s role be in the process?
The primary role that the county council representative has in the TMT issues deals with complications of police funding during conflict. I feel that the current council members who have stood against the County of Hawai’i being on the hook for the next five years have been correct. If I were to take the seat representing District 9 I will maintain the strong stance towards the State in demanding clear transparency on the appropriate wording so the people of Hawai’i County are not held as the responsible party for the financial burden.
Do you support reforms to policing in Hawaii? If yes, please explain what reforms you support.
Transparency is important and I support releasing records to the public in regards to details of misconduct after the person has been given due process. More light is the best approach when it comes to increasing the public’s trust in government. Immediate actionable steps for improvement of policing is to stop the use of vascular neck restraints. The Hawaii Police Department currently has training for our officers to intervene when peers are out of line and it would be best to expanded with regular drills in addition to providing support to officers who do have to take action to intervene with a peer. I want to see transparent policy which addresses closed-door racism not only in the police department but in all areas of county government.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
In addition to the C19 economic impact, District 9 has specific needs I would like to address. The most pressing issue facing North Kohala and South Kohala is the disconnect of the constituents with the county government. District 9 small business owners have great aspirations to produce goods and services, however they face barriers in the county permitting processes. Waimea has bottleneck roadways and Waikoloa Village has no emergency evacuation route. Hawi and Kapaʻau have a desire for mobile outreach and remote testimony sites to be heard and participate in county issues. Community groups in District 9 have passion to pursue valuable community works only to lose momentum after years of exhaustive processes held up in county government. The most pressing issues facing our district is due to the lack of streamlined systems, development of reliable infrastructure, clarity of timelines, transparency, and a lack of direct connection with our local representation. I will make myself available for direct connection with the constituents and share their concerns in the county legislation. I will encourage the county to embrace the use of technology to become more efficient and effective for the people of District 9 in North & South Kohala. Vote Ranae Keane to bring better balance for Hawai’i.
View more candidate questionnaires or see more 2020 Hawaii elections coverage.