Interview and transcription by Wendy Osher
INTRO: Tell us about yourself and your campaign.
Aloha. My name is Kanohowailuku Helm. I’m running for state Senate, District 7, which is to represent Upcountry Maui, East Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe. Basically, my platform is to look at what we need before what we want. I never aspired to become a politician. I got into this political scene and am running for Senate because I want to protect my home that I love so dearly, which includes all of Maui and Lanai. There was a big proposal to put a giant windfarm in the area where I come from, in Hoolehua on the West side of Molokai–and it was to produce 400MW of power, to send it via the sea transmission cable to Oahu. It just would take up half of our island and turn Molokai into an industrial wasteland. I feel that way. I feel strongly about protecting our environment on Molokai, on Lanai, on Maui as well. Again, I think we should look at what we need before what we want.
Question 1: What are your thoughts on the proposed Advanced Technology Solar Telescope atop Haleakala? Do you support or oppose the project?
I think before I look at whether I support or oppose the project, we have to look at certain variables. We have to ask. As a state senator, I have to look at asking the basic and core questions which is who is involves, what is involved, where it’s located, when the issue is–what is the timeline of the issue, why–why is it being proposed, and how is it being implemented. We have to look at all of these different variables. We have to consider all people involved, all parties. I understand that there’s the National Parks–who is involved, the National Scientific Foundation, we have our kanaka maoli community, and you have to really look at all the variables to decide whether or not this is needed–whether or not this development is truly needed, and whether or not the community of Maui County and the state–whether or not we truly benefit by having such a huge development in such a special area that is dear to the kanaka maoli who look at Haleakala as a spiritual place, as a culturally significant area. We have to look at the tourist industry. More and more we do huge developments on island. We have to look at if it would affect our tourist industry, which is our number one bread and butter in Hawai’i. And, we have to look at if it’s necessary–if it’s necessary to look up there in the sky and monitor our satellites, and monitor life on other planets–we have to look at that as well. So, we have to look at two sides of the issue.
Question 2: Do you support or oppose the construction of a prison in Puunene on Maui? Explain.
I think we have to look at all of the variables of putting a prison there in Puunene. If it’s needed–I personally think that our local boys should be able to serve their time here in Hawai’i, especially people within Maui County can stay here on island. I think it would be much better for our local boys than sending them away. I think we need to look at who’s involved–DHHL, if we’re looking at a master plan, and not just a prison, if we’re looking at expanding on the lands there also with private organizations as well, the county, the state. We need to look at the infrastructure that they’re proposing to be developed there as well–sewer lines, lease-to-own–and if it’s worth while to do so with Hawaiian homes or if it will put us more in debt. I think there are a lot of variables to look at. Again, I’m all for bringing our local boys home to serve their time.
Question 3: Discuss your thoughts on clean energy and its role in the Maui Community. How do you envision Maui’s clean energy future and how can the Legislature facilitate that vision?
Basically, we need to go back to the drawing board in creating Hawaii’s clean energy initiative. From my understanding, and my involvement, in the clean energy initiative, and how I got involved into politics, of course it was based on a huge windfarm being put on the island and taking up almost a quarter of the island of Molokai in an area that I live. I think we need to go back to the drawing board to look at what is the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative. I think we need to look at the whole package of our economy and looking at our way of life, and looking at providing alternative energy–what types of alternative energy can be sensitive to our lifestyle, our way of life, and what type of alternative energy would be good for the economy as well. I don’t support these huge, big wind projects, of course; but if you can get more rooftops solar, if we can open up the grid so that more people can feed rooftops that are solar into the grid, I think I would support that and a lot of people would support that. There’s a lot of people who are waiting for them to open up the grid and support solar energy. We need to look at other alternative energy sources. They’ve been looking at geothermal, hydro-electricity on the other islands. Basically my feeling is that before we look at an undersea transmission cable providing power to other islands, that every island should look at becoming self-sufficient first.
My name is Kanohowailuku Helm. I’m running for the state Senate, for District 7 which includes Upcountry Maui, East Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe. I am running as a non-partisan. So I need to make 10% of the votes in the Primary to move on to the General, otherwise probably the other candidate, or the incumbent would run unopposed in the General. I’m urging people to vote for me as a non-partisan so that I can get into the General, and hopefully move forward to become your next senator. You can check out my site at helmforsenate.com, or on youtube and Facebook. Mahalo.