VIDEO: Don Guzman – Candidate Profile 2012

August 3, 2012, 1:42 PM HST · Updated August 3, 1:45 PM
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Don Guzman. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Interview and transcription by Wendy Osher

INTRO: Tell us about yourself and your campaign.

Aloha. I’m Don Guzman and I’m running for the County Council, Kahului Seat.  I just want to tell you a little bit about myself.  I’m age 42; I have three children, ages 12, 5 and 6.  I’m married to the love of my life, Dr. Rose Guzman.  A little bit about my background:  I was a former Deputy Prosecutor for the County of Maui for five years, as well as serving as a legislative aide for Tom Okamura in the state House.  I was also a former aide for Congresswoman Mazie Hirono.  In terms of my issues that I would like to address in this county is: number one, strengthening our local economy; number two, is to make sure that our social services are maintained and improved; number three, to protect our natural resources; and number four, to make sure that we have fiscal responsibility.  I’m here because I have a stake in this county, for the future of our generations, for our keiki so that they may have adequate jobs and job opportunities here in the future.  So, remember to vote, Don Guzman.  For more information, you may contact donguzmanmaui.com.

With three candidates in the running for the Kahului Council seat, what makes you more qualified than the others on the ballot?

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I believe that there are three areas in which I feel that I am more qualified to be on the council.  Number one is my work experience.  I served as a legislative aide for Tom Okamura at the state House, as well as serving five years as a deputy prosecutor for the County of Maui, and thereafter I served for four years under Congresswoman Mazie Hirono as her Maui field representative.  I feel that I’ve got the experience in terms of dealing with issues at the local level, state and federal, and being in touch with our constituents and the residents of Maui.  Number two, I feel that my community service work has been long and hard in terms of my history.  I believe that I’m in touch with our community, serving as the state president for the United Filipino Community Council, serving on the boards of the March of Dimes as well as the Maui Chamber of Commerce, Filipino Chamber of Commerce, Native American Chamber of Commerce, and various other boards.  In that experience, I was able to learn what are the needs in terms of our community as whole.  Thirdly, I’m a family man–I’m married to a wonderful wife, and I have three children–all of which are minors.  So I believe that my interest, and my stakes here in the county are geared towards maintaining as well as providing our future generations with their needs.  So I believe that with all of those combinations, I am more than qualified to be on the council and I ask you for your support.  Thank you.

Do you support or oppose the Waiale Development in Central Maui? Why or why not?

I believe that I’ve always been an advocate for a balanced approach.  I think what we need in our county is affordable housing for our workers, putting people back to work, as well as making sure that we are culturally sensitive and protect our environment. In terms of the 545 acres at the Waiale project, we basically have in this instance, where the state land commission has already designated that area as an urban district, as well as the county council has designated it within the urban growth boundaries–so it is likely that there is going to be some fashion of development within that area.  The key there–right now what we can do–is to make sure that when it does come to the council for the application for the zoning change, we make sure that within the developers final proposed plan, that issues are being addressed in terms of culture, in terms of our environment, and making sure that our community–whatever issues that they may have–that they are going to be mitigated, and addressed to make sure that this development is appropriate for our county.  I definitely need to make sure that if I get into council, that I use my analytical skills to make sure that any conditions that are proposed by the developer–that those conditions be met, as well as strict scrutiny in terms of making sure that the community as a whole is viable and it is accepted by the community. 

There was much discussion this year about the installation of a roundabout in South Maui. Do you believe this was money well spent?

I’m an advocate for roundabouts in terms of the public safety and the efficiency of the roundabout versus a standard intersection traffic light.  But in looking at whether the cost effectiveness was appropriate, I believe that I would need to look at the engineering assessment to see if they actually did go over budget and whether this is going to continue if they did go over budget is it going to be worth our county’s fiscal responsibility in terms of budgeting for every roundabout $2 million.  I think we need to look at it in term of fiscally being responsible, and making sure that the next roundabout that we look at or develop is something that is going to cost us less and be more cost effective for us.  But at this point I really don’t have an answer in terms of it being fiscally appropriate.  I believe that roundabouts are really effective in terms of cutting down the traffic as well as being more safe, being environmentally conscious, and also making sure that we are more sustainable, and not having to rely on electricity to maintain any sort of traffic signals.  Also in terms of high density neighborhoods, traffic lights sometimes do annoy the neighbors as well as the vehicle stopping and going–I believe it is more neighborhood friendly in terms of cutting down the congestion as well as the noise factor.  So I am in support of the roundabouts, but also the examination of whether in fact they are fiscally adequate for our county in these times. 

Closing Thoughts:

I’m Don Guzman and I’m running for county county, the Kahului seat, and I’m asking you for your vote and your belief that I will do a good job.  I’m dedicated to serving you, and I will always have an open door policy to listen to your issues and your concerns.  Mahalo, and remember to vote for Don Guzman.  For more information on my platform and campaign, visit donguzmanmaui.com.  Mahalo. 

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