Categorized | Elections, News

Abercrombie at Waimea community talk-story (May 11)


Former Congressman Neil Abercrombie, who has formally filed to run for governor as a Democrat, will face a tough panel of knowledgeable Big Island experts in public education reform, farm to fuel and energy concerns and long-term sustainability questions during a Waimea community talk-story 5-7 p.m., Tuesday, May 11 at Kuhio Hale (Hawaiian Homes Hall).

Residents are invited to the gathering, which will begin with a free chili and rice bowl dinner and a performance – straight from the Merrie Monarch stage — by the Beamer-Solomon Halau o Poohala’s Papa Palai class of young wahine dancers.

The panel discussion will begin promptly at 6 p.m.

Panelists include:

* Kanu o ka Aina Hawaiian public charter school finance expert Taffi Wise, who will speak about Hawaii Island’s leadership role in public education reform, troubling policy decisions such as furlough Fridays, and the challenges ahead for the next governor to significantly improve academic progress for all of Hawaii’s children

* Hamakua Springs Country Farm’s innovative owner Richard Ha, who operates a diversified farm growing bananas, tomatoes and other foods, but has set his sights on addressing what he sees as a catastrophic near-term energy crisis for Hawaii Island and hence, the urgent need for more baseload geothermal energy to avoid “turning out the lights on our most vulnerable families and further dividing the community between haves and have-nots.”

* Alex Woodbury, Waimea’s sustainable green building consultant who assists families, schools, businesses and the county government in auditing energy consumption and advising on how to reduce costs and carbon footprint. He will discuss the difficult policy decisions needed by the next governor to enable a faster shift to alternative power sources and sustainable green living.

“The panelists have agreed to share their perspective of some of the difficult decisions ahead. Then, Mr. Abercrombie will be asked to share his views and specific intentions, really getting down to basics on what he would do as Hawaii’s next governor to address these problems,” Patti Cook said.

After the give-and-take with panelists, several questions from the audience will be asked of Abercrombie.

“Our goal is to give our community an opportunity to really get to know Mr. Abercrombie; while I served with him in the state Senate, and more recently he’s represented Hawaii in Congress for 20 years, many on Hawaii Island have not had an opportunity to personally meet and work with Neil; we want to give voters an opportunity to size him up and also hear more about some of the toughest issues that will face the next governor,” Malama Solomon said.

For further information, call Patti Cook at 937-2833 or Malama Solomon at 885-3533.

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