Waimea Town Market and Parker School are hosting a candidate Talk-Story from 8:30 a.m. to noon, Sat., July 14, 2012, at the school. This event provides a superb opportunity to meet and speak to the individuals who want to represent and serve North Hawai’i residents in the relaxed environment of the island’s friendliest farmers’ market. With no speeches and no pressure, voters will have the uncommon opportunity to spend time chatting with each candidate, one-on-one.
Candidates for all local and island-wide offices have been invited. Those confirmed as of press time include U.S. House of Representatives candidate Bob Marx; Hawai’i County Mayoral candidates Harry Kim and Dominic Yagong; District 4 State Senate candidates Lorraine Inouye and Malama Solomon; District 9 County Council candidates Bill Sanborn and Margaret Wille; and Hawai’i County Prosecutor candidates Lincoln Ashida and Mitch Roth.
The Talk-Story is organized by Paul Johnston, who manages the market. According to Johnston, the Market’s Steering Committee decided to hold the Talk-Story after noting that the campaign season offered many opportunities to hear the candidates, or to wave to them, or perhaps even to shake hands with them, but few chances to meet many of them face-to-face for long enough to develop any kind of rapport. Yet a number of these candidates will be elected, and will go on to make decisions that will have substantial impact on people’s lives. Therefore, Johnston says, the Committee wanted to find a way for the public to meet candidates in a setting conducive to allowing voters to “take the measure” of each candidate and to be able to answer the questions: “Is this the person I want making decisions for me? Will this person remember who they represent and take the time to keep in touch?” Also, “Is this person truly committed to learning about and understanding complex issues and then have the ability to forge relationships to make things happen. And do they take my ideas and concerns seriously?”
“So much of our everyday life is impacted by our elected officials – from the quality of water we drink and air we breathe, to the food we have to eat, the educational supports available to our children and the kinds of jobs, lifestyle and opportunities available to us now and for years to come. Your vote is a very serious matter and we hope this talk-story will help residents become more informed before they vote in the August 11 Primary Election,” said Johnston.
“Also, many people in Hawai’i County still don’t realize how important the Primary Election has become. Because all County races are now ‘non-partisan,’ candidates can and will be elected in the Primary, so there won’t be another chance to vote for those offices. Another important issue this election year is that redistricting and reapportionment have significantly changed voting districts, and with the courts moving up the date of Hawai’i’s Primary to mid-August instead of mid-September, there is a lot of information voters need to absorb much earlier.
“Finally, many voters are requesting mail-in ballots and it’s very easy to make a mistake on a mail-in ballot in the Primary Election. Voters must make a choice in the Primary to vote either for all Democratic or all Republican or all Green Party candidates. You must not vote across parties in the Primary, and if anyone accidentally does, their ballot will be automatically voided. You may crossover vote in the General Election, but not in the Primary.”
Visitors should note that the candidates have been asked to meet with voters only in their tents.
Comfortable casual attire is always suggested for Waimea Town Market, and layers are recommended since Waimea temperatures can vary widely and mist or rain is always possible. For more information, please call Paul Johnston, 938-4540.