This last term of the Maui County Council has provided a refreshing experience for Maui residents with the ‘New Kids on The Block’ leading strong. Wasting no time in office, first time Council members Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, Tamara Paltin and Shane Sinenci have successfully introduced new departments, commissions and clarifying procedures that have set new precedence. With an air of hope these three rookies have proven that reversing the Arakawa era is easier than once expected.
The 2018 mayoral election pitted campaign wealthy Victorino against environmentalist surf rider Elle Cochran and many had high hopes she would lead the change that so many voters knew was needed. Looking back to that election night, the loss may have been felt by Cochran but she was the first to admit that the night brought wins of relief in council seats. As post traumatic election syndrome subsided, some quietly questioned how this was going to work.
The 2019 Maui County Council welcomed friendly isle Keani Rawlins-Fernandez with a most advantageous law background. Her inauguration post was set as the Chair of Budget and Finance Committee and her meeting decorum was impressive. Serving on several Committee’s afforded her proposal power and without skipping a beat she successfully introduced a Commission on Healing Solutions for Homelessness. The ballot measure was a refreshing alternative to a failed proposal to bifurcate the Department of Housing and Human Concerns. Not to mention balancing a budget with single handedly igniting remote meeting technology.
Successful West Maui Council member Tamara Paltin continued to flex the environmental issues that her predecessor Elle Cochran worked hard to position in place. Tamara Paltin took critical subject matters to meeting agendas as the Sustainable Land Use & Planning Committee Chair. Like her fresh fellow colleagues, her multi committee presence positioned her well to pose important items that have been long awaited by Maui residents. Her mellow yet piercing investigative line of questioning has brought forth clarity from departments that have had an opaque history of transparency. Without skipping a beat, Tamara Paltin has also intentioned critical answers in the area of illegal occupation land tenancy and title disputes.
East Maui Council seat winner brought strong growth with Council member Shane Sinenci taking the Chair seat for the Environmental, Agriculture and Cultural Preservation Committee. As if to move mountains he continued growing Maui’s agricultural diversification opportunities by introducing a ballot measure to create a Maui County Department of Agriculture. This a relief from a sad history of trusting the said State, believing it could make sound decisions of Maui County’s agricultural needs in a post sugar era. The successful bid will be on the November ballot and Maui voters anxiously await the chance to support the measure that can only strengthen our county’s agriculture abilities. Sinenci’s Committee also adopted the portion of water responsibilities from another committee, fearlessly taking on the important component of ‘Water in Ag’.
While these mile markers are spectacular in fashion, these Maui County Council candidates that seek re-election in 2020 have more benchmarks worth bragging about. As the General Election approaches, Maui is sure to hear more success stories from these Council candidates who have clearly proven that you can be productive as the new kid on the block.
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