Education: Graduated from Loyola High School, Los Angeles. Class 70
Attended Colorado State on a football scholarship then transferred to San Diego St
Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Planning December 1976
Moved to Kona in March 1977 to expand the family flower business
2014 - Present Sales Manager at Hilton Grand Vacations in Waikoloa
2008 – 2014 Director & Deputy Director of the Hawaii County Department of Parks & Recreations under Mayor Kenoi.
2003 to 2006 Assisted in coaching football at Hawaii Prep Academy
2000-Present President of West Hawaii Youth Council for 20 years
Board Member of West Hawaii Park Athletic Corporation (WHIPAC), a non-profit
1998 – 2008 Worked for Adventures Resorts and Wyndham Resorts a manager
1978 – 1998 Owner/Operator of Leslie's Flowers in Kona (3 Stores/Outlets)
1982 Obtained my Hawaii Real Estate License currently in “Active Status”
1980 -1996 Special Education Teacher and coach at Konawaena High School.
Why do you think you are the right candidate for mayor of Hawaiʻi County?
Yes, passion, experience, transparency, leadership skills, we are going to be under tight economic and physical strains, when I became Parks Director in 2008 their were tight times, cut my parks budget over 10 million dollars but we didn't miss a beat with services and expansions to our facilities and programs. I have small business experience along with working for two large corporation and the State and county government. I have a great understanding on how to communicate, bridge communities together, and the job done with aloha.
Please tell us about your biggest personal or professional accomplishments in the past five years.
Since I retired from county government, besides all my sporting events still playing baseball and basketball, I went back to work for Hilton Grand vacations club, in 2017/18 I was the number one sales manager at the Waikoloa site with the biggest overall sales increase in the large Global Hilton company, with my leadership and motivation skills we did over a hundred million in sales ,I believe it was 22 million over the budget, never done before in Hilton. I got well recognize from Hilton as the most valuable player for those years.
What will be your top three priorities in your first 100 days as mayor?
1. Fixing the permitting process for our construction industry,along with getting any shovel ready projects out the door.
2. Digging into revamping our transportation system using all county vans not just the current bus systems vehicles,all county passenger vehicles our part of my plan besides getting the federal grants that have been lacking.
3. Establish an all island traffic division that actually works on getting people to and from work during the needed peak hours. combining crossover lanes, monitoring the traffic lights similar to Kauai.cross over of departments to get our traffic under control and efficient. (not counting adding a full cabinet)
Some say "development" has a negative connotation in Hawaiʻi. Others say it is an important element in our community's future. Where do you stand?
I favor quality developments that keep construction on the rising with anticipation of affordable to our local workers, planned well thought out and have positive impact to both sides. If we're going to be sustainable these development projects have to be attached to new clean medical and technology companies that can provide training and jobs to our youth and career changing work force.
As mayor, what would you do to implement the principles of the ʻĀina Aloha Economic Futures Declaration?
AS it says " the love of the land " lets bring in other universities to help educate and train our work force , a perfect positive of the C-19 currently once a student or career changing person gets rejected by our only University of Hawaii their opportunity in that field usually ends. Recently our collage kids were sent home and took the same classes on line.We need to partner up with other institutions . We need the diversity in clean products, new innovated ideas for agricultural and technological ,working together from of all the State and County government with Hawaiian organization 'laulima' leading the way. There is no reason that our island can't feed the whole state. We need to commit and that is a commitment, I as your Mayor is willing to do. My grand kids go to a all Hawaiian emergent school, they're being taught great core values I want to see this type of future flourish.
Which areas of the Aloha+ Challenge will you focus on as mayor, and what plans do you have to help achieve these sustainability goals on Hawaiʻi Island?
Agricultural, keep property taxes the same or lower for our producing farms, work on technology assistant from UH or other well quantified universities. Increasing working with department of water supply to obtain the water commitments that our expanded farm land would required. County partnership for co-operative resourceful, weather certified kitchens, storage, shipping avenues.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the County has gotten involved in addressing food, housing, medical care, and other social welfare needs. How should the County pivot to focus on economic recovery and growth?
Well the good outcome, is keep communicating with the State and other social services on a regular basis ,don't let that type of communication stop. Part of my A, B and C teams is to crossover departments, with State and local community leaders as part of my process to get things done quickly. Our recovery some at the hands of the State decision makers is us, we have the land for expanding our agricultural output, we have ten thousand timeshare owners in this State that can come to our big Island, we have a 1.2 million populated city in this State to market taking vacation time here. I am sure mainland travel for our Honolulu families is no longer a top priority .We have the cultural and beauty that other Hawaiian Islanders can commit too. Be bold, get the shovel ready county projects out the door, with any hanging building permits out the door so our construction industry can continue.
How important is the growth of clean, renewable energy for Hawaiʻi Island? Which technologies should we embrace, and should any be left off the table?
Waste to energy, we cant keep trucking our rubbish to Waikoloa, this is a terrible economic and carbon footprint that the county is on the wrong side of, with the new technology I believe we can RFP this to the private sector to get the job done. Course the solar energy farms is a perfect match for our Island, probably the one that I feel is off the table would be geothermal, even with better technology we still have live active volcanoes on this island I don't feel anyone can guarantee our communities safety.
What factors or considerations will you take in hiring your cabinet, and who are some of the people you are considering or the strategy you will use to build your team?
Experts and proven leaders in their field, a good balance of east and west. I would interview all the other mayor candidates if interested. My specialty where ever I have coached or worked is my ability for team chemistry. I welcome that as your Mayor, I don't want to release names at this time so it won't impact them if another candidate is wanting to choose them.
As Mayor, you will make decisions that affect this island and the children who will inherit it for generations to come. What is your commitment to them?
AS I said earlier, I am running for them,I have kids and Grand kids all born here, my grand kids are half Hawaiian, my motto" believe in Akua, believe in the guy you see in the mirror, believe in what you do today, will make a better tomorrow." That's me, I have the experiences and communication skills to get us believing again, float from relating to people from 3 to 93,"One Island One Heart."
Mahalo for the opportunity.