Kim­ball to chal­lenge Inouye for state Se­nate seat

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By NANCY COOK LAUER

Pa­paikou Democrat Heather Kim­ball plans to chal­lenge state Sen. Lor­raine Inouye for the Dis­trict 4 seat rep­re­sent­ing Waikoloa, Waimea, Ko­hala, Ha­makua and parts of Hilo and Kona.

Kim­ball, 45, who ran un­suc­cess­fully against Rep. Mark Nakashima in the 2016 pri­mary, says she’s a po­lit­i­cal out­sider, but given the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal cli­mate in the Leg­is­la­ture, she thinks vot­ers are ready for a non-es­tab­lish­ment can­di­date. She took 24.6 per­cent, to Nakashima’s 75.3 per­cent.

“After the com­pla­cency and lack of trans­parency we saw in the 2017 ses­sion and the spe­cial ses­sion on rail, I think peo­ple are ready for a change,” Kim­ball said. “They want elected of­fi­cials who they feel put their needs over those with the deep­est pock­ets.”

“The vot­ers want to know why the bills they cared about died, like fund­ing for UH-Hilo to study rat lung­worm dis­ease or the 2045 clean trans­porta­tion goals,” Kim­ball added.

Inouye, 77, was most re­cently elected se­na­tor in 2014. Be­fore that, she was in the Se­nate from 19982008, served as Hawaii County mayor from 199092 and was on the County Coun­cil from 1984-90.

Inouye said she wel­comes

Kim­ball to the race.

“This will gen­er­ate more dis­cus­sion about dif­fi­cult is­sues and will help vot­ers know more about their pri­or­i­ties for our dis­trict. … I also think good can­di­dates and deep con­ver­sa­tions will en­cour­age more to vote in the 2018 pri­mary, which is ter­rific for our county and state,” Inouye said.

“I’ve never been more en­er­gized about what’s pos­si­ble now be­cause so many of my con­stituents are re­ally pay­ing at­ten­tion, want to get in­volved and do some­thing to make a dif­fer­ence,” she added. “I es­pe­cially re­spect the grass­roots groups in my dis­trict who have come to­gether since the last elec­tion and are speak­ing out.”

Kim­ball plans to kick off her Se­nate cam­paign with a meet-the-can­di­date event sched­uled for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 22 at Anna Ranch in Waimea. The pub­lic is in­vited.

She’s al­ready started door-knock­ing in the dis­trict, say­ing the main con­cerns she’s hear­ing from vot­ers are ed­u­ca­tion, in­fra­struc­ture and Hawaii’s high cost of liv­ing.

“Lo­cal fam­i­lies can no longer en­vi­sion a fu­ture where their chil­dren will be able to stay here, have a good job, af­ford a home and raise their own fam­i­lies,” Kim­ball said. “As one res­i­dent told me, ‘I don’t want to move to the main­land to see my grand­chil­dren.’”

As the mother of four daugh­ters her­self, in­clud­ing two Hilo High School grad­u­ates who moved to the main­land for school and em­ploy­ment, Kim­ball said she can em­pathize with that con­cern.

“We must di­ver­sify our econ­omy so we can have ca­reers that will al­low us to stay in Hawaii. To do that, we must pro­vide the ed­u­ca­tional and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to pre­pare our chil­dren for those ca­reers. We can’t do one with­out the other.”

Kim­ball op­er­ates a sci­en­tific con­sult­ing firm and lec­tures in ge­og­ra­phy at the Univer­sity of Hawaii at Hilo. She has a bach­e­lor of sci­ence de­gree in bi­ol­ogy from the Univer­sity of Michi­gan and a master’s de­gree in trop­i­cal con­ser­va­tion bi­ol­ogy and en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­ence from UH-Hilo. Kim­ball serves as the Novice B women’s coach and on the board of Kame­hameha Ca­noe Club. She is the cur­rent chair­woman of the Hawaii Is­land Sierra Club.

Inouye is a farmer in ad­di­tion to be­ing a leg­is­la­tor.

She was hon­ored last year with the Big Is­land Press Club’s Torch of Light award for her bill in­creas­ing press ac­cess dur­ing dis­as­ters.

“Look­ing back, I’m proud to be called ‘The Bot­tle Bill Se­na­tor.’ I’m also proud of hav­ing sup­ported al­ter­na­tives to fos­sil fuel when it wasn’t very pop­u­lar,” she said. “I have al­ways lis­tened to my dis­trict and had hard, frank dis­cus­sions about is­sues and op­tions, and then worked to do some­thing about it.”

Can­di­dates can file to run for of­fice Feb. 1 through June 5. The pri­mary elec­tion is Aug. 11.

INOUYE

KIM­BALL

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