New City Council members face ongoing issues of COVID-19 pandemic

HNN political analyst weighs in on new Honolulu City Council

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Five of the nine Honolulu City Council members were sworn in on Saturday, which makes it the biggest turnover in years.

New council members include former state lawmaker Andria Tupola; Ester Kiaaina, who served in the Obama administration; former state House Speaker Calvin Say; City Council aide Radiant Cordero; and comedian Augie Tulba.

The new council will also be dealing with newly elected Mayor Rick Blangiardi. According to Hawaii News Now political analyst Colin Moore, residents will see the dynamic play out soon.

“Sometimes a crisis like COVID-19 can really focus representative institutions,” Moore said. “They might all work together, sometimes it can lead to a lot of fractionalization and infighting. We’re gonna know in the next three months.”

Newly elected member Andria Tupola said she’s looking forward to working with Blangiardi.

“I’ve supported him, I helped him throughout his journey,” Tupola said. “I was excited for him to enter the mayoral race.”

City councilwoman Andria Tupola discusses priorities, working with new mayor

It is not yet clear if Blangiardi will be changing Oahu’s tier system of reopening, but Tupola is open to the idea of restructuring.

“The tier system has heavily affected small businesses and they have been crying out that there needs to be some type of allowance for them to comply with CDC regulations, open with safety guidelines, and then be able to still bring in income and keep their employees employed,” Tupola said.

Radiant Cordero, representing District 7, is hoping for a better future. She said one of the issues that needs to be addressed right away is infrastructure. Her district includes Dillingham, where the majority of rail construction is taking place.

“Right now we are putting my constituents at a disadvantage,” she said. She wants to see the rail line continue through to Ala Moana.

The next full council meeting where all nine members will discuss and vote on agenda items will be on Jan. 27.

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