For those who aren't familiar, Kaua’i is in a very unique position with regard to the island's energy management as its utility is not privately owned, but is a cooperative—its ratepayers are its owners. This shift from being a for-profit entity to a co-operative many years ago was crucial, many of the candidates underscored at last night's forum. Six of the nine candidates present at the forum agreed that KIUC needed to operate more like a cooperative with higher member participation and more transparency about the Board's activities.
The candidates for this year's election are: Karen Baldwin, Pat Gegan, Jo Ann Georgi, Joel Guy, Calvin Murashige, Ken Stokes, Steve Rapozo (Incumbent, not present), Stewart Burley (Incumbent, not present), and Lesther Calipjo (not present). Each of the candidates in attendance brought different sets of skills to the table, and with only three seats open it will be a competitive race. Candidates emphasized the need for consensus among the directors, and some hoped to create a paradigm shift in the way the Board approaches decision-making and operations. Ken Stokes and Pat Gegan, who both ran in 2011, mentioned how different the past year at KIUC would have been had either of them won a seat. They spoke specifically about the hydropower issue, one of KIUC's most contentious projects on Kaua‘i this year. Many outspoken community leaders came out against hydropower, while other community groups expressed support for shifting to renewable energy.
Whatever the outcome is for this year's election, it will be an interesting one and something to keep our eye on. The next candidates' forum is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Kapa‘a Library at 2pm. Go to our events calendar for a full listing of candidate forums across the island of Kaua’i!
Back Row (Left to Right) : Karen Baldwin, Pat Gegan, Ken Stokes, Joel Guy, Jocelyn Slade (ASUH), Taylor Stanton (ASUH), Jo Ann Georgi, Calvin Murashige
Front Row (Left to Right): John Constantinou (ASUH), Dasha D'Acosta (ASUH), Lyle Uenten (ASUH), Nahoku Rabot (ASUH), Herbert Semana (ASUH), Julio-cruz Flores (ASUH), Helen Cox (KCC Chancellor), Crystal Cruz (ASUH)
(Top photo, left to right): Panel Jo Ann Georgi, Joel Guy, Calvin Murashige, Ken Stokes