… Brittany Smart. Â I put out a call for nominations for the Big Island Chronicle’s award of the most intriguing person in Hawaii County in 2010, and most people agreed with the thought that I had before putting out the call. Â When Smart first told me that she was running for Hawaii County Council against incumbent Guy Enriques for the District 6 seat that stretches from Upper Puna, Ka’u and South Kona, I have to tell you honestly, I was skeptical. Â I did not imagine that she would do as well as she did in the Primary, beating Enriques, and, when she won the General Election in November, I was floored. Â I thought for sure that Enriques had all the political backing he needed to when a second term on the Council. Â I took for granted the power of the people. Â The people of District 6 decided that they wanted a 27-year-old University of Hawaii political science graduate with an idealism we should all strive to have.
Yes, sure, I do agree with those of you who suggested that 104-year-old Saramae Landers, said to be the oldest woman in Hawaii County, is quite intriguing. Â I am in awe of Landers and try to give kudos to her on this blog as often as I can. Â I will be celebrating with the rest of you when she turns 105 this spring. Â I just think that Smart is worthy of the “most intriguing person” title this year for the fact that she took us all by such surprise in surfacing the way she did in Hawaii County politics. Â I mean, here is this office manager for EKO Systems, the company with the contract for handling the county’s greenwaste program, taking on the County Council incumbent who is personal friends with the mayor and had U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye attend one of his campaign rallies in Pahala. Â It was fascinating to watch, whether you were a political pundit or a junkie. Â And the mystery and intrigue of it all between the Primary and General Elections kept us all quite captivated. Â That to me qualifies as intriguing.
I am relieved to know that someone like her, who worked as an office manager for EKO Systems, and as intern for Department of Environmental Management before that, is in public office at a time when our elected officials really do need to be taking on the task of figuring out what to do with the unlined South Hilo Sanitary Landfill, amongst other solid waste and wastewater issues. Â I think Smart has the energy, passion and drive to actually take up the bigger issues that need to be addressed. Â I also think she is already proving to be quite responsive, having her staff follow up with folks like me who are interested in the more mundane, but still important, issues like posted speed limits along commuter routes.
Best of luck to Brittany and the rest of the County Council this term. Â And best of luck to Saramae Landers, who, we can refer to as the runner-up for most intriguing person in Hawaii County in 2010. Â She may very well be the most intriguing person of 2011 if she continues to defy the odds of aging and impresses us with her stamina and good genes.