Maui Election

Four Maui County incumbents uncontested for re-election

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Incumbent Council Member Tom Cook and former Council Member Kelly King will compete for the Maui County Council’s South Maui residency seat in this year’s elections. Also in the race is Johnny Prones. The South Maui contest is the only one in Maui County that pits a former and current office holder against each other. File photos

By virtue of being uncontested, Maui County Council Members Shane Sinenci of East Maui and Gabe Johnson of Lāna‘i will be re-elected to their respective seats this year.

Central Maui Sen. Troy Hashimoto is also uncontested for his 5th District Senate seat, and District 9 Rep. Justin Woodson has no opponent to stand in the way of his return to the state House of Representatives.

These tidbits are pieces of Maui County’s 2024 elections puzzle that fell into place after Tuesday’s deadline for filing nomination papers with the Hawaiʻi Office of Elections came and went.

There are few of what political junkies consider “competitive races” because most incumbent office holders face opponents who are virtually or relatively unknown. It’s a steep climb for rookie candidates to overcome an incumbent’s higher name recognition and an office holder’s ability to attract more dollars to fuel a campaign.


The standout exception will be the expected, hotly contested race for the Maui County Council’s South Maui residency seat. The contest pits first-term incumbent Council Member Tom Cook against former Council Member Kelly King, who gave up the seat in 2022 to run for mayor. (In the Aug. 13, 2022, primary, she finished in third place with 6,389 votes, or 16.1%.) Also in the South Maui Council race is first-time candidate Johnny Prones, a Kīhei resident. All three responded Thursday to Maui Now’s request for comments via email.

Cook said he has been a father, carpenter, general contractor and business operator. “These life experiences have equipped me with the insights and empathy needed to effectively continue serving our community on the Maui County Council,” he said. “My approach to governance is rooted in common sense and a genuine understanding of the diverse needs of our community. I am committed to fostering inclusivity, transparency and progress for South Maui.”

A former council chair and leader among “progressive” members, King said hundreds of Mauians have urged her to run for her former seat to buck against “a conservative, contractor-funded Council majority.”

She said she and her supporters have seen “a continued attempt by the current council to push for outside interests to take over our resources, especially public water rights.”


“I am running for re-election to my previously held council seat to again take up the advocacy for pono prosperity that every Maui resident deserves,” King said. “In my previous terms, I was able to usher in affordable housing/rental projects (two of which were completed and housed the lowest-income residents during my tenure), pass important environmental protections for our shoreline waters, wetlands, endangered species, etc., and address infrastructure concerns, including innovative wastewater solutions and pushing for Kīhei’s much needed North-South Collector Road.”

Kīhei resident Johnny Prones, a candidate for the South Maui residency seat on the Maui County Council. Courtesy photo

Born and raised on Maui and the oldest of three siblings, Prones said he’s a first-time candidate who has been involved as a volunteer in community nonprofit organizations. “It’s like giving back to my community and paying it forward,” he said. “We need to put people first to gain our trust and transparency to provide input and concern . . . We need to work together to have sustainability for our keiki and kupuna for the future and tomorrow.”

According to his Facebook page, Prones is a National Dislocated Workers Grant employment specialist at Maui Economic Opportunity Inc., a DoorDash delivery driver and a Disaster Action Teams supervisor and shelter manager at the American Red Cross.

Cook is chair of the Council’s Water and Infrastructure Committee and vice-chair of its Housing and Land Use Committee.


Cook said his first-term accomplishments include work to streamline the time-consuming process of obtaining land use permits and approvals, especially in paving the way for rebuilding Lahaina; and to advocate for infrastructure and the increased use of R-1 recycled water and increased availability of potable water to support more housing.

“My commitment is to advocate for ‘generational housing’ for our families to afford and live for generations to come,” he said. “Collaborate with stakeholders in bringing forth ‘sustainable’ solutions for our food, shelter, and energy needs. And, ‘preserving our island home’ by diversifying our economy.”

King said she would use her next council term to “revive crucial programs I had started, such as the Maui Youth Council, the Climate Action, Resilience and Environment Committee and real houseless solutions (ie. the overnight parking pilot project) that were eliminated after I left the council in 2022.”

“Maui has an opportunity to again change the council focus back to listening to our residents’ concerns and addressing them with meaningful legislation, policies and project funding as we did when I was previously one of the progressive majority on the Council,” she said. “The projects and policies I was able to bring to fruition had the backing of our residents and nonprofits who care about our ʻāina, our biodiversity and local control of our water resources. We need to return control of the Council to the people of Maui, and stop serving those whose first concern is their pocketbooks!”

Other County Council races (as they stand after Tuesday’s candidate filing deadline):

  • West Maui:
    • Incumbent Council Member Tamara Paltin.
    • Lahaina resident Lorien Acquintas.
  • Kahului:
    • Incumbent Council Member Tasha Kama.
    • Kahului resident Carol Lee Kamekona.
  • Makawao-Haʻikū-Pāʻia:
    • Incumbent Council Member Nohe Uʻu-Hodgins.
    • Haʻikū resident Nara Boone.
  • Upcountry:
    • Incumbent Council Member Yuki Lei Sugimura.
    • Pukalani resident Edward Codelia.
    • Makawao resident Jocelyn Cruz.
  • Molokaʻi:
    • Incumbent Council Member Keani Rawlins-Fernandez.
    • Maunaloa resident John Pele.
  • Wailuku-Waiheʻe-Waikapū:
    • Council Chair Alice Lee.
    • Wailuku resident James Forrest.
  • East Maui:
    • Incumbent Council Member Shane Sinenci, unopposed.
  • Lāna‘i:
    • Incumbent Council Member Gabe Johnson, unopposed.

State House races:

  • District 9 (Kahului, Pu‘unēnē, portion of Wailuku):
    • Democrat Rep. Justin Woodson, unopposed.
  • District 10: (Portion of Waiehu, Paukūkalo, Wailuku, Wailuku Heights and Waikapū):
    • Democrat Rep. Tyson Miyake.
    • Democrat Jeremiah Savage of Wailuku.
  • District 11 (A portion of Mā‘alaea and all of Kīhei, Keawakapu, Wailea, Mākena, Kanahena and Keone‘ōio):
    • Democrat Rep. Terez Amato.
    • Republican Aileen Acain of Kīhei.
  • District 12 (A portion of Keahua and all of Hāliʻimaile, Pukalani, Makawao, Pūlehu, Waiakoa, Kula, Kēōkea and ʻUlupalakua):
    • Democrat Rep. Kyle Yamashita.
    • Republican Dan Johnson of Pukalani.
    • Green Party member Rita Ryan of Makawao.
  • District 13 (Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, Kaho‘olawe, portion of Kahului, Ha‘ikū, Pe‘ahi, Huelo, Nāhiku, Hāna, Kīpahulu):
    • Democrat Rep. Mahina Poepoe.
    • Democrat Linda Haʻi Clark of Kula.
    • Republican Scott Adam of Ha‘ikū. 
  • District 14 (Kahakuloa, Waihe‘e, portions of Waiehu and Mā‘alaea, Olowalu, Lahaina, Lahainaluna, Kā‘anapali, Māhinahina Camp, Kahana and Honokahua):
    • Democrat Rep. Elle Cochran.
    • Democrat Kanamu Balinbin of Lahaina.
    • Republican Kelly Armstrong of Lahaina.

Senate contests:

  • District 5 (Wailuku, Kahului, Waihe‘e, Waikapu Mauka, Wai‘ehu):
    • Democrat Sen. Troy Hashimoto, uncontested.
  • District 6 (West Maui, Mā‘alaea, Waikapū and South Maui):
    • Democrat Sen. Angus McKelvey.
    • Republican Sheila Walker of Kīhei.
  • District 7 (Hāna, East Maui, Upcountry, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i):
    • Democrat Sen. Lynn DeCoite.
    • Republican Gabby Macaraeg of Kula.

Also, Republican Steven Bond of Kula filed nomination papers to seek the US representative District II seat currently held by Congresswoman Jill Tokuda of Kāneʻohe.

The primary election is Aug. 10, and the general election is Nov. 5.

The candidate filing report can be viewed at

Brian Perry
Brian Perry worked as a staff writer and editor at The Maui News from 1990 to 2018. Before that, he was a reporter at the Pacific Daily News in Agana, Guam. From 2019 to 2022, he was director of communications in the Office of the Mayor.
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