Name on ballot:
Dr. Holeka Goro Inaba
Hawaii county council – District 8
No answer submitted
Current Councilmember for District 8 (North Kona)
Previous job history:
Communication Consultant, Instructor of Education, Social Media Manager.
Previous elected office, if any:
Currently serving as Councilmember for District 8
Please describe your qualifications to represent the voters of your county.
As a lifelong resident of Kona with generational ties to the district, I have a deep commitment to the district I represent and Hawaiʻi County as a whole. In my role as the current council member of the district, I have intimate knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of this office. In addition to the experience I have as the incumbent for the district, I have strong relationships with numerous community organizations and the constituents that I serve. I also hold my Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and a Masterʻs degree in Health and Strategic Communication which has provided me with a foundation of leadership upon which I serve my community.
What is the most pressing need for the people you seek to represent, and what will you do to address that need?
Affordable housing is one of the most important issues for our county. I will seek comprehensive reporting of the outstanding housing credit inventory as this is a necessary starting point for our policy improvement measures in Hawaiʻi County. After achieving this, I would like to give priority for affordable housing to those who are current residents of our County based on the length of time they have been here in the County. I would also like to see a more simplified affordable housing requirement that allows for better management by the Office of Housing and Community Development and oversign by the Housing Agency.
Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope and why?
While I support the continued use of existing astronomy facilities on Mauna Kea, I do not support the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Mauna Kea continues to be a source of inspiration and knowledge for Native Hawaiians and the astronomy field as well. Demonstrated improvement of Mauna Kea’s management is necessary before proposals of additional facilities are brought forward.
Rising inflation has significantly worsened Hawaii’s already high cost of living. What can be done at the county level to help residents cope with high consumer prices?
While the County does not have direct oversight of consumer prices, it does have power over fuel and real property taxation. I have advocated for the reduction of our real property taxes and will continue to advance measures that provide relief to those who need it most in our County.
What specific solutions do you propose to combat homelessness and to make housing more affordable to residents?
I believe that one of the biggest barriers to creating more affordable housing is Hawaiʻi County’s own affordable housing policies. I have worked closely with Councilmember Kimball to overhaul our affordable housing chapter and get our County moving in a more organized and sensible direction when it comes to affordable housing. These changes include better reporting of current affordable housing production, priority for local residents, and providing clearer options for developers to satisfy affordable housing requirements. This bill will come forward pending the completion of the study commissioned by the Office of Housing and Community Development earlier this year.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, what more should the county government do to protect residents’ health?
I believe the County has provided what it should to protect the health of residents. If residents so choose, they can seek out additional shots or COVID-19 tests that are still available.
What should county government do to help residents who have been economically affected by the pandemic?
The county can continue to support residents in seeking employment which has continued to be a problem across all job sectors in Hawaiʻi. The county can also continue to provide resources for tenants who are unable to pay their mortgage to ensure that families remain housed during this time.
What reforms, if any, would you propose to make local government more transparent to the public?
I would like to see that applications for various County boards and commissions be made public so that everyone has the opportunity to see who has applied for these positions and who is ultimately selected by a mayor’s administration. In making this change, the process becomes more transparent and we may end up with board and commission members who are more prepared and experienced for the positions they hold.
Do you think more needs to be done at the county level to manage tourism? If so, what would you propose?
I would like to see a fee structure implemented for county parks. In addition, following the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority’s Strategic Plan and the Hawaiʻi Island Destination Management Action Plan that have been created, both public and private sectors have a kuleana to support 1.) ‘āina-based education and actions centered around community-driven stewardship; 2.) opportunities for community-led decision making; 3.) two-way communication and engagement between government, the visitor industry and communities; 4.) management and protection of natural and cultural resources; 5.) residents’ quality of life.
What would you propose to help diversify the island’s economy beyond tourism?
The priority moving forward should be based on agriculture and food production. These jobs will not only help the County sustain itself but also grow the opportunity for exportation of goods outside of Hawai’i. It is also important that we continue to support our small businesses and entrepreneurs through our small business development centers so that we can see the growth of new industries and markets in Hawaiʻi.
What can county government do to mitigate the affects of sea-level rise?
The effects of climate change continue to reveal themselves in various ways across the islands. Hawaiʻi County should review its policies by taking a closer look at activities in special management areas near the coastlines to ensure that current and future developments are planning accordingly for sea level rise. In addition, serious consideration must also be taken to address existing infrastructure including roads, water lines, and waste water lines that are within reach of anticipated sea levels.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
As the current council member for North Kona, I have proven my ability and commitment to doing what is right for the people, no matter what. As a community, we cannot afford to gamble on others who do not have this track record. Serving the Kona community and Hawaiʻi County has been an honor and it would be a privilege to continue in this role. #VoteInaba
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