Waimea Community Association meeting on July 17 to feature candidate forum

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The Waimea Community Association meeting at 5 p.m. this Thursday, July 17, at the Waimea Elementary School cafeteria will feature a candidate forum and will spotlight three important district races – the newly confirmed Senate District 4 (North Kona to North Kohala including Waikoloa, Puako and Kawaihae, Waimea and Hamakua to North Hilo), County Council District 1 (east Waimea-Hamakua) and District 9 (west side of Waimea-North Kohala-Kawaihae-Puako-Waikoloa).

Waimea Community Association and more than a dozen other community groups are collaborating to co-host the July 17 candidate forum as well as a second forum on Wednesday, July 23, also in Waimea School cafeteria. All residents are welcome to participate in the forums to learn more about the candidates before the all-important Aug. 9 primary election, which is more than six weeks earlier than in prior election years.

Candidates in the Senate District 4 race who will attend are Lorraine Inouye and Malama Solomon. Larry Gering and Val Poindexter will attend for the Council District 1 race, and candidates in the Council Dist. 9 race who are scheduled are Ronald Gonzales, Oliver “Sonny” Shimaoka and Margaret Wille.

Both forums will be facilitated by Hawai’i Island news woman Sherry Bracken with Hawai’i Public Radio and LAVA 105.3 fm and KKOA 107.7 fm. The forum will begin with introductions and rapid-fire questions and answers, then “speed dating” with candidates moving from group to group around the room for an up-close talk to address attendees priorities.

The July 23 forum will spotlight the two top contenders in the Aug. 9 State Gubernatorial Democratic Party primary election, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Sen. David Ige. The forum will begin with introductions and then Q-and-A, also facilitated by Bracken, incorporating questions suggested by co-sponsoring groups and those submitted in writing by those in attendance.

Co-sponsoring groups include: WCA, Lalamilo Farmers, Waimea Middle School, Friends of the Future, Tutu’s House, Mala’ai School Garden, North Hawai’i Rotary, Parker School, Waimea Town Market, the Waimea Preservation Association and Coqui Free Waimea.

Starbucks will provide coffee and sponsoring groups will provide food. Attendees are urged to support the Waimea Food Pantry with cash or checks, with receipts available, or non-perishable food donations.

For more information, visit www.WaimeaTown.org, or call WCA President Sherman Warner at 885-1725 or Patti Cook at 937-2833.