By Holly Juscen – bio | email
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 24 applicants for Charles Djou's old council seat found out the hard way Thursday who is really in the running, by sitting around waiting to be asked a question. Only six got the nod.
Candidates with the most credentials got the most attention. Each of the 24 candidates were given two minutes to make their case to the council, but only six were asked questions, and those six are the only ones in the running now.
Djou endorsed Jonathan Lai before he took off to Washington, DC. Lori Wingard worked for Djou as his chief of staff for five years. Then there is the former police chief Lee Donohue, he is in the running after 40 years at HPD. Donna Ikeda, who is a current member of the Board of Education and a former state senator is still in. The last two candidates are former legislators: Brian Yamane and Carl Takamura.
All of them gave their case as to why they should be the next councilmember for District Four.
"I intend to keep all existing staff in place and focus on constituency services until there's a transition on January 2, 2011" said Lai.
"I believe that I can confidently make the difficult decisions and cast key votes in the best interest of the Council District Four, as well as our city" said Wingard.
"With all of the community involvement that I have, and that I am still involved with, I will take that same philosophy like we did in community policing and meet with the community leaders to address the many issues that are pending" said Donohue.
"I've represented the district for 22 years, well not the entire district, but a good portion of it in the state legislature. I've worked on budgets, as you know I was the Ways and Means chair" said Ikeda.
"As you know, I've had a wide range of professional and volunteer experience as well as the public and private sectors as well as multiple levels of state and local government which will enable me to assume the important responsibilities of the position quickly and effectively" said Takamura.
"My only goal if given the opportunity would be to work as collaboratively and as harmoniously with all of you" said Yamane.
City councilmembers will interview the six candidates over the weekend. They are expected to make their announcement on Wednesday, June 9. The new member will start immediately and they will have a big decision to make straight out of the gate, they will have to vote on the city's budget for 2011.
The seat became available when former councilmember Charles Djou won a special election to become representative for Hawaii's First Congressional District in Congress. Since the general election is less than a year away, council rules allow the remaining members of the council to choose a replacement member for the interim.
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