Former County Council member enters contest for South Maui House seat

Don Couch, running for House

Former Maui County Council Member Don Couch is seeking the Democratic nomination for the South Maui state House seat held by Rep. Kaniela Ing, who has announced he’s a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I know how to go about getting things done at the state Legislature,” said Couch, a 27-year South Maui resident. “It starts with a representative who understands complex legislative processes and works well with legislators, one who is committed to his community and actually lives and works here.

“The South Maui representative must be available 24/7 and have the knowledge and discipline to move forward on much-needed affordable housing; the too-long-delayed Kihei high school; our increasing homeless problem; and rational and responsible development that protects our land, water, beaches and ocean,” he said.

Couch took out nomination papers on March 2. Another Democratic candidate for the seat, Christine Wildberger, filed her papers on Feb. 14.

Now an executive assistant to Mayor Alan Arakawa, Couch served three consecutive terms on the County Council, from 2011 to 2016, when he was unseated by Kelly King by 1,049 votes, 23,641-22,592.

During his council service, Couch was Planning Committee chairman for six years and vice chairman of the Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. He was deputy director of the Department of Planning under Arakawa.

Couch has been a Kihei Community Association board member and volunteer.

As a council member, Couch fought for construction of Kihei’s Liloa Street roundabout and was a founding member of Kihei’s “Fourth Friday Town Party.” In his current position in Arakawa’s administration, he is working with the Legislature and the Department of Education to determine the safest pedestrian access to the future Kihei high school.

The 11th District House seat includes Kihei, Wailea and Makena.


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