Apana files to challenge Woodson

Former Maui Mayor James “Kimo” Apana has officially filed to run for the 9th House District seat held by Democratic state Rep. Justin Woodson.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Woodson to the Kahului House seat when former representative and now state Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran was named to the Central Maui state Senate seat vacated when Shan Tsutsui was tapped for lieutenant governor. He replaced Brian Schatz, who filled the seat left open when longtime U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye died Dec. 17, 2012.

Apana, 51, works as a businessman and Realtor. He announced his candidacy Jan. 17. He served as mayor from 1999 to 2003.

The 9th House seat covers Kahului, Puunene, old Sand Hills and Maui Lani.

Woodson has said he intends to seek election to the seat, although the current list of candidates from the state Office of Elections shows only Apana as checking out nomination papers. The candidate filing deadline is June 3. The primary election is Aug. 9.

In other new candidate activity, Democratic state Rep. Kyle Yamashita has pulled nomination papers for re-election to his Upcountry district seat.

Council Member Bob Carroll filed nomination papers to seek re-election to his East Maui residency seat, and Lahaina resident Ka’ala Buenconsejo completed the process to be an official candidate for the West Maui council residency seat.

According to an announcement for the candidate, Buenconsejo is a 1991 graduate of Baldwin High School who went on to get an associate degree in liberal studies from what was then Maui Community College before earning his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Hawaii.

Buenconsejo said he has worked at KHON Channel 2 News as an intern, at Kapalua Land Co. as its public relations coordinator, at the Hilton

Waikoloa Village on the Big Island as its special events director, and as sales and marketing manager for Old Republic Title & Escrow. He then became a loan officer for Central Pacific Homeloans and the Bank of Hawaii and a Realtor with Elite Pacific Properties.

Currently, he works as director of marketing for Na Hoaloha Ekolu ohana, which handles advertising and marketing for businesses such as Old Lahaina Luau, Aloha Mixed Plate, Star Noodle, and Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop.

He’s married to Doreen Buenconsejo, and they have three children ranging in age from 5 to 11.