Mayor Arakawa officially files for re-election

Mayor Alan Arakawa filed nomination papers Friday as a candidate for a third term as mayor of Maui County.

“It has been a busy four years, but good, productive ones,” Arakawa said in an announcement. “We focused on improving our utilities, roads, water and sewers, and being more accessible and transparent to the general public. We expanded our Maui Bus system, fixed park bathrooms, offered more county services online and installed more solar photovoltaic panels on our county rooftops.

“Maui County has always been a great place to live, but we are committed to making it the best community that it can be for everyone,” he said.

Arakawa served three terms on the Maui County Council and was first elected mayor in 2002. He lost a re-election bid in 2006 to Charmaine Tavares. Arakawa mounted a comeback and retook the mayor’s office for a second four-year term in 2010. He can run for a third term because the Maui County Charter limits mayors from serving more than two consecutive full terms.

As of Friday, five other candidates had checked out nomination papers for mayor and three had filed officially for the office. The other official candidates are Tamara Paltin of Lahaina, Alana Kay of Kihei and Orion Kopelman of Kahului. Those who’ve checked out papers but had not filed as of last week are Carson Nemoto and Nelson Waikiki Jr., both of Wailuku.

None of Arakawa’s opponents has a record of being elected to public office. Kopelman was a candidate for Maui County mayor in an 11-candidate field in 2010. He finished in eighth place with 111 votes.

In other recent candidate filing activity, Maui County Council Member Mike White, chairman of the council’s Budget and Finance Committee, checked out and filed nomination papers last week for re-election to his Makawao-Haiku-Paia residency seat. He will face former Council Member Mike Molina, who has been serving as an executive assistant to Arakawa.

Haiku resident Alexander Haller checked out nomination papers for the Makawao-Haiku-Paia seat, but he had not filed as of last week.

In an announcement of his candidacy, White said he has been focusing for the past few months on the council’s review of the fiscal 2015 budget. He led council efforts to cut back spending and property tax increases proposed by the Arakawa administration.

“Our economy has yet to fully recover, and it is important that we continue to be cautious in our budgeting,” White said. “As promised, I have brought a more businesslike approach to running the county. I continually work to scrutinize county expenditures and operations, while balancing the needs of the community.”

Last week, two new candidates surfaced for the council’s East Maui residency seat held by Council Member Robert Carroll, who has filed for re-election. Checking out papers for the seat were John Blumer-Buell of Hana and Swami Nikhilananda of Huelo.

For state seats, Sen. Roz Baker filed for re-election last week. The Democrat has held the 6th District seat since 2002. She chairs the Senate’s Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee.

Libertarian Bronson Kekahuna Kaahui and Democrat Terez Marie Amato Lindsey have checked out but not filed as candidates for the West and South Maui Senate seat.

In an announcement, Baker said that she looks forward to continuing to work on consumer protection, health care, education, senior citizen, equity and workforce issues. She said she’s worked with Maui Sens. J. Kalani English and Gil Keith-Agaran to secure “hundreds of millions of dollars in capital improvement projects for highways, airports, small boat harbors, schools, Maui Memorial Medical Center, the University of Hawaii Maui College and other much-needed infrastructure.

“I know there’s more work to do, and I look forward to the challenges ahead,” she said.

For the Central Maui Senate seat, District 5, Keith-Agaran has filed papers as a candidate. He will face Waihee resident Christy Ann Kajiwara-Gusman in the Democratic primary. Meanwhile, Republican Joseph Kamaka of Wailuku also filed officially for the seat. He remains unopposed in the GOP primary.

English, a Democrat, has filed for re-election to his 7th District seat, which serves residents of East Maui, Upcountry, Molokai and Lanai. Former Molokai Chamber of Commerce President Barbara Haliniak had checked out papers for English’s Senate seat, among other offices, but she filed last week as a candidate for the 13th House District seat, which serves residents of Paia, East Maui, Molokai and Lanai. Incumbent Democrat Mele Carroll has taken out papers for re-election but had not filed as of last week.

Democratic Rep. Kyle Yamashita filed officially as a candidate for re-election to his Upcountry 12th House seat. He remains unopposed.

For the South Maui 11th House seat, Democratic Rep. Kaniela Ing checked out papers and filed for re-election. Kihei residents Patric Brock, a Libertarian, and Marie Minichino, a Democrat, have taken out papers but not filed them.

House Speaker Joe Souki, a Democrat, filed for re-election to his 8th House District seat, which covers Wailuku, Waiehu, Waihee, Waikapu, Kahakuloa and Puuohala. He remained unopposed in the Democratic primary. Republican Cranston Kapoi of Wailuku has filed as a candidate for the seat, and he is unopposed in the GOP primary.

For the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ Maui island seat incumbent Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey of Makawao has checked out papers but not filed them. Haiku resident Mahealani Wendt has filed papers for the seat.

June 3 is the deadline for candidates to file nomination papers. The primary election is Aug. 9, and the general election is Nov. 4.

* Brian Perry can be reached at

* This article contains a correction from the original published May 25, 2014. Candidate filings. Nikhilananda, who has checked out nomination papers for the Maui County Council’s East Maui residency seat, is a resident of Huelo. His community of residence was misidentified in a story on Page A3 on Sunday.