By Alan McNarie
Democratic incumbent Gil Kahele faces off against frequent candidate Wendell Ka’ehu’ae’a in the primary; the winner faces Libertarian Gregory Arianoff in the general election. Ka’ehu’ae’a replied to our questionnaire with a brief note, apologizing and saying he “won’t be answering most Q and A letters including your questions.” Back in 2012, however ,when Ka’ehau’ea was running in District 2, did answer a few questions for Civil Beat on issues such as gambling (He’s against it, except horse racing), sunshine laws (He’s for them) and attempts to relax environmental regulations to encourage business: “Government transparency a must. Any and all development should not have a free go-a-head projects [sic] without community involvement. We must protect our island natural resources and over development.”
Kahele didn’t respond at all. His Web site, gilkahele.com, however, does give lists of long-term and short-term goals.
“I see Hawai’i Island, East Hawai’i and in particular Hilo, as leading the State in education, tourism, agriculture, sustainability and clean natural energy and power,” he notes. But his vision is basically one of planned expansion: ”As Oahu’s population continues to increase, overcrowding, traffic, real estate costs and the high cost of living in general will drive more people to Hawai’i Island. The laid back, small town atmosphere of Hilo, stable real estate prices and potential job opportunities will cause more families to move here to make a home and a living. Basic services will need to be increased, our schools need to be modernized, thus it is important that we plan for that population increase today rather than tomorrow.”
Most of his short term goals involve construction projects, including new buildings at UH-Hilo, public housing renovation at Lanakila Housing Project, Highway 130 improvements, improved Hilo port facilities and a new Hilo High gym. The only non-construction-related short-term goal listed is “Geothermal power expansion in Puna, Volcano and Ka’u.” Kahele’s long-term goals also mostly involve construction projects. His only agriculture-related goals are to increase papaya exports to Japan and Asia and to continue “identifying and eradicating” invasive species. Other goals include continuing and expanding East Hawaii charter schools and “Lunar Aerospace Facility infrastructure at Shipman Industrial Park.”