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CANDIDATE PROFILE - HawaiʻI County Mayor

Yumi Kawano

Residence: Volcano


Occupation: Forest Conservationist 


 *Advocate hard for Our War Veterans and their Caregivers, & the Mentally Ill 

* Taught Island-Wide Science & Multiple subjects in Hawaii, Alaska (Yupik Eskimos) & Oregon

* University of Hawaii-Hilo Science Instructor

 * Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service Enumerator

*  Volcano Friends Feeding Friends Volunteer

* Former Volcano Community Development Planning Committee Volunteer

* Volcano Neighborhood Watch Volunteer

* Hawaii Volcano National Park Interpreter Volunteer 



*Masters of Arts in Teaching Secondary Science at Pacific University. Thesis on “Integrating Indigenous and Western Knowledge”

*Bachelors of Arts and Science, Environmental Biology at Fort Lewis College.

Why do you think you are the right candidate for mayor of Hawaiʻi County? 

I am one of the most honest people you will ever meet,  plus I am fair and equal in how I treat others. I am open to all ideas because I am intelligent. My character says it. I strive for balance in all I do and I believe I’m the kind of woman you want to put in charge of Hawaii County.

Please tell us about your biggest personal or professional accomplishments in the past five years.

I’m a Successful Single Mother of a Hilo High School Graduate, whom graduated with Honors with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications, Colorado University in Boulder. Yama is  my campaign manager! More than anything he’s a genuine human soul whom I raised.

What will be your top three priorities in your first 100 days as mayor? 

1. To assist communities by town centers and/ or subdivisions to become self sufficient with each household and business using renewable energy equipped to transfer their unused energy to a energy storage center. Each Community will produce their own food and build their own sustainable housing based on the needs of the community. This would also get our island emergency ready per community. 

2. Put a task committee together to address the lack medical and mental health facilities. This committee would ask “How can we attract and retain good doctors?” How can we build new facilities and improve the ones we have especially with the Covid 19 pandemic?    

3. We will begin our “Beautify Hawaii Island Project.” Homelessness is our problem as a nation and we must tackle it. Rehabilitation Work Camps with medical and mental health services would be provided for our workers. Aloha 

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?

Development can be positive if land-use planning is done taking in the entire community input. Community Development Planning Action Committees CDPAC were designed just for that. As I have served on the Puna CDP Action Committee for citizens about four years. These plans were written by the people and should be written and implemented like Law. Green space must be set aside by each community for farming and wild green spaces and future growth. Each town center and even subdivision must carefully plan their future for themselves and generations beyond. 

As mayor, what would you do to implement the principles of the ʻĀina Aloha Economic Futures Declaration?

* Aina Aloha:  It’s is about Mālama the ʻāina, restoring the land, which my ohana and I restore rare Rainforests by removing invasive plants and replanting native plants. So as Mayor, I would continue to look for resources to restore like NRCS funding.

* ‘Opu Aliʻi: It is wise land use planning as the Islandwide CDPs (Community Development Plans) would be implemented as the People declared over 30 years ago! The local and state governments have stalled on purpose this process of listening to the collective voices of the People for too Long! 

* ‘Imi ‘Oi Kelakela: As Mayor I will invite ingenuity and innovation which enhances Hawaiʻi’s unique way of life. Who wouldn’t be willing to learn about the Hawaiian medicinal use of plants? 

* Hoʻokipa: To be inclusive and embrace the collective are my core beliefs as a Quaker. As a trained wildlife biologist whom worked with threatened and endangered plants and animals, I see how our leaders have failed to manage our resources, all for profit! 

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?

We will become self sufficient again as an island community like our ancestors were in water collecting, food production, sustainable housing, but we will become energy sufficient individually and each community. We must! We will be emergency ready if we do this quickly. Each member of a  community will have a part to restore our oceans and aina. We must have a energy storage center for future disasters.

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?

We must redefine economic growth. It must become localized economic growth. You see the biggest downfall for our world is when people started buying from corporations like Walmart. The stinking thinking is to buy from corporations and to buy and trade locally is the only way to build community again. Small businesses must be helped by promoting local markets and by government providing physical places to have a market. EcoTourism should be promoted because these are responsible caring visitors whom want to give back somehow like help restore our forests and our oceans.

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?

This is so important. All SAFE clean renewable energy must be examined scrupulously for our Hawaiʻi Island. Solar panels are becoming solar roofs like Tesla! Wind power, Hydroelectric, Tidal and wave energy, and  Geothermal heat pumps, and biofuels. Everything should be examined unless it has a negative impact.

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?

My cabinet members would have good character, clear knowledge of the job, and a desire to be in constant communication with the public, especially because we the government work for the people. Performance appraisals will include public input. They must demonstrate equity and respect for all, no matter race or birthplace. They will be excellent compassionate communicators. The strategy will be plenty of interviews and ongoing training in learning how to resolve conflict peacefully. One of my team members now is my son, Yama Radtke, my 24 year old campaign manager, whom graduated from a Hilo High and recently graduated with honors from CU Boulder in Mass communications. My top advisor is Son of the ʻĀina, Hawaiian Filipino, Kalani Tinay, my husband, whom served in the Persian Gulf War, as an Airborne infantryman. My husband is wise and honest and is studying Agroforestry at HCC to help us grow food and native plants!

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?

My commitment to them when I was as a teacher was to be fair and honest and to invite their input to make our learning experience the best and as a mayor I will walk my talk and be a true servant leader. I will invite their innocent and refreshing input always. After all children are our conscience.

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