Who and what am I voting for or against? A look at my Kauai general election ballot choices.

In response to several requests that have come via text, email and FaceBook, I have summarized below how I intend to vote on the various items contained on the General Election Ballot.  Though this is a Kauai specific list…several of the items are also applicable to ballots statewide.

I present my thoughts here with some hesitancy as I do not want to appear to tell others how to vote, and on some issues and people my thoughts and ultimate vote, also rely on the opinions of others whom I respect – I speak here specifically of the votes for OHA.  Like many non Hawaiian voters, I feel somewhat disinclined and unqualified to weigh in and vote on these choices however my friends in the Hawaiian community believe it is important that I do so.

In addition, when suggesting candidates that I am supporting, there is implied opposition to the “other candidates”.  As much as people say “it’s not personal”, I know from experience as a candidate that in fact it is taken as personal and thus breeds hostility…the repercussions of which sometimes reverberate into the future.  

But oh well…the alternative of being silent creates within me even more angst than the concern over what others might think and the offense they and their friends and family might take.  Remaining silent of course would also be abdicating my responsibility as someone who aspires to leadership in our community.

So here goes – I will start with the easy ones:

Governor and Lieutenant Governor: David Ige and Josh Green

U.S. Senator: Mazie Hirono

U.S. Representative: Tulsi Gabbard

Kauai Mayor: Unknown and possibly blank

Kauai County Council:

  1. Mason Chock
  2. Felicia Cowden
  3. Adam Roversi
  4. Luke Evslin

Read here why these 4 are my top choices.


5) Norma Doctor Sparks – I have decided that Norma Doctor Sparks will be my fifth vote for the Council.  She has by far the most experience with regards to managing large government budgets, and she has demonstrated through her actions and outreach that she cares about and will be responsible to the concerns of all Kauai residents.  My vote for Norma Doctor Sparks is an insurance vote intended to support the end result that at least 4 new independent and community based voices are elected to the Council. Plus – we need more women serving on the council!

Though Kauai voters are allowed “up to 7 votes”, in an effort to maximize the impact, my personal votes will be limited to these 5.  You can read more about this strategy of “block voting and plunking” here:


Moving to the questions regarding questions pertaining to amending the State Constitution:

I am voting NO on all Constitutional and Charter amendment questions.

I am voting NO on the question: “Shall there be a convention to propose a revision of or amendments to the Constitution?”

Read the basis of my No vote here: 


On the questions pertaining to amending the County of Kauai Charter:

Relating to the Public Defender — Question 1 – I am voting NO  – Shall the charter be amended by repealing Article IX, Public Defender, as this function is already provided by the State?

Relating to the Electric Power Authority – Question 2 – I am voting NO – Shall the Charter be amended to repeal Article XXX, which empowers the Council to create an electric power authority by ordinance?

Relating to the Zoning Board of Appeals — Question 3- I am voting NO – Shall Article XIV, Planning Department, sections 14.01, 14.03, 14.12, 14.13, and 14.14 be amended by removing all references to the zoning board of appeals? NOTE: My No vote is based on my lack of understanding as to whether or not this diminishes the rights of those who would want to make an appeal.  I understand the Planning Department wants this change, but I am not clear whether the replacement is adequate.

While some make a strong argument that the three amendments above are not needed.  I see no harm in “keeping them on the books” in case they might be needed in the future.

Relating to the Public Access, Open Space, Natural Resources Preservation Fund — Question 4 – I am voting NO – Shall Article XIX, Financial Procedures, Section 19.15 © be amended to permit the Public Access, Open Space, Natural Resources Preservation Fund to include improvements? NOTE: I prefer these funds be used primarily to acquire new properties and am concerned that they will be used up by “improvements” which could drift into the realm of regular maintenance.  These funds should be used to purchase long term assets (property) and not as operational funds.

Relating to the Salary Commission — Question 5 – I am voting NO – Shall Article XXIX, Salary Commission, Sections 29.01 and 29.03 be amended to give the salary commission authority to establish the maximum salaries of all elected and appointed officials, and to add the director of human resources and the director of finance as ex-officio members of the commission? NOTE: If passed this will result in higher salaries for councilmembers, the mayor and top administrative heads – without the Council being involved which means they escape political consequences.

Relating to term limits for the office of Councilmember — Question 6 – I am voting NO- Shall the term limit of office for Councilmember be removed?  NOTE: This was put on the ballot primary to benefit Councilmember Kagawa whose term expires in 2020.  The people overwhelming support limiting the terms of councilmembers, if passed this allows unlimited terms.

You can read more about the basis for my decisions on the Charter Amendments, and about who NOT to vote for for the Kauai County Council here:


For the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Every voter in the State votes for every District race.  Here are the suggestions:

Maui: Ke’eaumoku Kapu

Oahu: Esther Kia’aina

At Large (vote for up to 3):

Lei Ahu Isa

William Aila

Brendon Lee

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) www.hapahi.org I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - http://www.garyhooser.com/#four “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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6 Responses to Who and what am I voting for or against? A look at my Kauai general election ballot choices.

  1. Roz Reiner says:

    Hi Gary! Are curious about some of your choices for OHA, Do you support Fed Wreck? Just so know, Ester Kia’iana was here with the DOJ for the meetings (debates) of Fed Recognition & still promotes it heavily. I believe, but have not confirmed that Brendon Lee & William Aila are also pro Fed Rec. (Using OHA money to promote Fed Rec). Kia’aina’s opponent Akaka, was very helpful in maintaining funds for Charter Schools. There was a great discussion on Songs of Sovereignty today (10/24) in the Office of Hawaiian Despair report about the candidates positions. Also, I watched OHA candidates forum last night (10/23). Recorded it so I can go back & check. (Tho’ fed wreck wasn’t mentioned in the questioning).

    • garyhooser says:

      OHA is a tough one for me – so I consulted with three Native Hawaiians friends who I have great respect for, and who are knowledgable and involved. 2 of whom put the independent nation of Hawaii as there ultimate goal, one of whom is more inclined towards fed wreck. The common message from all three was OHA needs mature, experienced, adult leadership and needs to stabilize and get its act together. Esther was seen as someone who has that mainstream institutional knowledge and experience to make this happen. I took the varied information and suggestions that my friends gave me, then poured it through my own filter – and made the recommendations.

  2. Roz Reiner says:

    It seems your “advisor” friends are in favor of Fed Rec, & that’s why they recommended votes for Kia’aina, Aila & B. Lee. Please be aware that Fed Rec is NOT the same as Sovereignty or Independence. Supposedly your advisors support an “Independent Nation of Hawaii” but that is NOT what we’d get with Fed Rec. Fed “wreck” would basically designate Native Hawaiians as a TRIBE,* having some autonomy, but basically under the rule of US Federal Laws. (Not an independent, or sovereign nation). Look at how this DOESN’T WORK for Native American federally recognized “tribes.” Based on the DOJ hearings in Hawaii (at which I testified) I would venture to say that most Native Hawaiian are OPPOSED to Fed Wreck, and are especially distressed to learn that a significant portion of their OHA trust funds were used to support it. *Kanaka Maoli are the Indigenous People of Hawaii, and not an American Indian tribe. Just sayin… My savvy Kanaka Maoli friends, who are well informed on all major issues re: OHA & Native Hawaiians, support: Ke’eaumoku KAPU, Kalei AKAKA, Lei AHU ISA, & Rowena AKANA. Also note that these candidates support PROTECTING MAUNA KEA.

  3. Pingback: Four Steps For Change: Legislative, Electoral, Judicial and Grassroots | GaryHooser's Blog

  4. Thank you, Gary
    I am happy to vote with more confidence on issues that I have not thoroughly explored
    Your perspective and hard work is magnifi d by the respect so many of us have for you

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