On October 17 and October 24, 2022, two candidate forums were held in our UH Maui college student lounge. Students and staff, as well as community members filled the seats to examine the potential new congress. Pizza and refreshments were served, the mood was intentional. I was a moderator alongside fellow student, Jolene Kuaana. Photos were captured and provided by student Jason Gumboc and Marc Antosh.
The first to arrive on campus was current Mayor Michael Victorino. Shortly after, Richard Bissen arrived and the two took to the podiums. Each candidate was given a 5 minute introduction speech allowance, then two minutes each to answers questions. The audience was encouraged to either raise there hand and ask questions themselves, or to remain anonymous, and jot down there questions for Joelene or I to read. Most went the anonymous route and we were given the many index cards for the examination. Questions consisted of the topics of sustainability, tourism control, affordable housing, agriculture and water topics, and feasible futures for our youth. Both candidate answered promptly and intentionally but it was unclear which way our UH Maui community was leaning towards.
The Maui County Council forum was the following Monday, October 24, and was aimed at hearing from the district representatives. Many showed up, some did not, and again we asked the audience to either raise there hands or write down their pressing questions for us moderators to ask. Each candidate got a chance to speak, although most of the questions were geared towards upcountry candidates and representatives of Haiku and Paia side. Our UH community showed immense interest in pondering what kind of changes would be implemented for our future, students wanted to know what kinds of actions would be taken to make Maui livable for its locals and natives again, and to keep our students on this ‘āina with the ability to thrive rather than just survive. I personally was impressed with the mana wahine, who spoke with a real passion towards our real issues. I felt that candidates Ahia, Boone, and Hocker made strong impact statements when addressing issues that were of real importance to our lāhui.
These candidate forums were hot, and the people of our UH Maui community came with burning questions, seeking change and seeking answers. The people of our small but mighty Maui college seek justice for what really matters- our community because these people- whether staff, instructor or student- work hard for and are a vital part of our community. They did not shy away from speaking what was on there minds. Go UH Maui! And may the best and most just official win for the good of the people.