Kalua running for West Maui County Council seat
LAHAINA — Saying he’s willing to make tough decisions for the betterment of the community, Ezekiela I. “Zeke” Kalua plans to run for the West Maui seat on the County Council.
As of April 1, Kalua, Eleanora K. Cochran and Alan A. Fukuyama have filed nomination papers, and Eve M. Clute, Jonah K. Kapu and Paul I. Laub have pulled papers.
West Maui Councilwoman Jo Anne Johnson must vacate the seat due to term limits.
Kalua, 33, said that given the financial crisis that Maui County and the entire nation face, “it is important to have someone in a leadership position who is thinking of practical solutions.”
Currently serving as executive director of the West Maui Taxpayers Association (WMTA), Kalua attacks problems creatively.
“I believe that coming to the table to complain increases the longevity of the problem. I like to think at times without parameters to ensure that all options are considered, and in doing so, feel more likely to be able to find a compromise that can address most — if not all — concerns pertaining to any given situation,” he explained.
“As the youngest member to the council, if elected, I hope to bring new ideas and plant good seeds for future growth, as has been done by those before me.”
A recurring issue in the election season is diversifying Maui’s economy. This year, Kalua is concerned about the demand for growth to support the economy and the island’s outdated infrastructure.
“Most of the issues Maui County is facing revolve around the economic decline happening throughout our community,” he explained.
“The economy, along with infrastructure concerns, is poised to be increasingly challenging as the current needs are far behind current growth demands.”
Recognizing the key role tourism plays in the economy, Kalua thinks the county should promote the industry and beautify Maui’s public places.
“The money invested could do much to create a beautiful experience to encourage those from abroad to come to Maui while enhancing the areas we as residents live, work and play,” he said.
With the economic downturn stalling development on Maui, Kalua said it’s a perfect time for infrastructure improvements.
“Ideally, we should be doing what we can to improve our roads and parks and places within walking distances of our towns. Because of current infrastructure projects currently moving forward, a portion of the workforce, although small, has the opportunity to work and provide for themselves and their families while making much-needed improvements to our antiquated infrastructure now,” he said.
“I believe that we can utilize the availability of manpower and catch up most of the infrastructure to bring it, at the very least, to match current needs as we question which developments are right for Maui.”
Kalua has a long track record in the community, serving with Project Impact Maui (December 2000 to May 2001), T.R.A.M. (Transportation and Alternatives for Maui) in 2001 and ’02, Kaanapali 2020 (February 2001 to the present), Mayor’s Advisory Committee (2003-06), Governor’s Maui Council of Advisors (2003-07), Pali to Puamana Task Force (2004-07), Rotary Club of Lahaina (2001-04) and Governor’s Council of Advisors (2003-07), including volunteering as vice-chair.
Under former Mayor Alan Arakawa, Kalua worked as an executive assistant in the Office of the Mayor from 2004 to ’06.
He graduated from Kauai High School in 1994, then completed an Automotive Technology course at Kauai Community College.
A fixture at state and county meetings on behalf of West Maui Taxpayers Association, residents have told Kalua to throw his hat in the ring for years.
“I want to personally thank those who have inspired me to make this decision to run for political office. I am optimistic that my team and I will do well,” Kalua said.
“I am honored to have been a part of this community for nearly a decade now and look forward to continue to be a part of it for many years to come. Make your vote count in 2010. Please vote Kalua for council,” he concluded.