comscore 2022 Election: Jeff Coakley | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

2022 Election: Jeff Coakley

  • jeffrey coakley
Name on ballot:

Jeff Coakley

Running for:

Hawaii county council – District 9

Political party:

No answer submitted

Campaign website:

Current occupation:




Previous job history:

Senior Lifeguard, County of Hawaii

Previous elected office, if any:


Please describe your qualifications to represent the voters of your county.

For many decades I’ve been a community advocate to improve the quality of life for residents in rural areas. Much of my work was done without government help to secure perpetual easements for fishing, hunting, recreation and cultural practices.

I was most recently was the Chairman of the Kohala Community Development Plan (CDP) committee to determine land use in North Kohala for the next 10 years. My area of expertise is forming partnerships with key stakeholders to get the job done.

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 pressing needs in my district and this must be a top priority for all County Councilmembers. I believe that government should work together in partnership with local nonprofit organizations whose mission is to address affordable housing and ensure that they are supported properly. We can streamline the permitting process and eliminate the duplication of services between the state land use commission and county zoning laws.

Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope and why?

As a youth I sailed on the Araner, captained by Rip Yeager out of Ala Moana harbor who taught us celestial navigation while sailing on the open ocean and found astronomy fascinating. However, after Governor Abercrombie granted construction permits for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), the Hawaii supreme court ruled that this was illegal. For this reason, I find it difficult to support the TMT.

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?

Affordable housing, to rent or buy, is critical to dealing with Hawaii’s high cost of living. We can incentivize developers to build by offering tax credits, use a voucher system for low-income renters, and closely examine county-owned properties to identify areas to fast-track new affordable housing builds.

What specific solutions do you propose to combat homelessness and to make housing more affordable to residents?

We should support non-profits that work on homelessness issues by streamlining the procurement process so that they receive adequate and timely funding. Homelessness requires individualized care and it is better to leave this to community agencies.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, what more should the county government do to protect residents’ health?

The government’s role should be to ensure that residents have access to healthcare and allow them to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.

What should county government do to help residents who have been economically affected by the pandemic?

The county government should suspend taxes, penalties and fees (e.g. DMV, gas tax, RPT) where appropriate for residents who have not recovered economically from the COVID-19pandemic.

What reforms, if any, would you propose to make local government more transparent to the public?

The best reform is when the electorate chooses a leader who is honest and truthful.

Do you think more needs to be done at the county level to manage tourism? If so, what would you propose?  

I’d like to focus on partnerships between the hospitality industry and community to manage tourism. So far, stewardship opportunities and visitor impact fees have been successful in ensuring that beaches, parks, and trails are well managed by residents and remain open for all to enjoy.

What would you propose to help diversify the island’s economy beyond tourism?

There’s a reason why Hawaii’s #1 industry is tourism and we should find ways to build on this in a practical and sustainable way–for example, many hotels and resorts support local farmers, musicians and entertainers, artisans, and other small businesses.

What can county government do to mitigate the affects of sea-level rise?

The county government can educate and inform the public about these issues.

Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?

I’m not a career politician, I’m a community advocate and I don’t have all of the answers. What I bring to the table is the willingness to serve in an honest and truthful manner in forming partnerships. I sincerely believe every community has the expertise to solve their own social/economic issues that fits their individual community. They just need the support from government entities, businesses, non profit groups working together to find those solutions.

View more candidate questionnaires or see more 2022 Hawaii elections coverage.
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