ABOVE: Voters listen to the candidates speak inside the hot and muggy Pahoa High School cafeteria. The following videos feature three different (and sometimes fiery) candidate forums that took place during the Puna Pono Alliance event on July 26.
Video by David Corrigan
PAHOA, Hawaii – Voters in the Puna region of Hawaii Island got one last chance on Saturday to hear from candidates running for public office before walk-in voting begins on Monday.
The forum was organized by the Puna Pono Alliance and featured races for Hawaii County Council District 4 and 5, as well as State House District 4.
Council District 4
There are four candidates for Puna’s council district 4, and three of them were present for Saturday’s Puna Pono Alliance forum: Madie Greene, Roy Lozano, and Emily Naeole. The incumbent, Councilmember Greggor Ilagan, did not attend the forum.
The format involved an opening statement, followed by one question from the audience specifically directed at a candidate, then a closing statement. With three candidates present, the council 4 forum went quickly. Lozano opined that he wished there was more time to take on harder questions.
Council District 5
All seven candidates for council district 5 were present for the forum: Cherish Almeida, Daniel Cunningham, Tiffany Edwards-Hunt, RJ Hampton, Tim Law, Daniel Paleka, and Frances Pueo. Perhaps it was the Lozano’s challenge set forth in the prior forum, but candidates seemed to squirm a little more on the hot seat. Tensions rose as some candidates were interrupted by the audience. One candidate even erupted in a now-infamous outburst as the district 5 forum neared its conclusion.
State House District 4
Again, a large group running for State House district 4, the seat currently held by Rep. Faye Hanohano. Hanohano was the only incumbent candidate to attend the forum. She is facing a crowded field of five fellow Democrats in the primary. Present for the forum: Leilani Bronson-Crelly, Brian Jordan, Julia Peleiholani, Joy Sanbuenaventura, and Republican Gary Thomas. Lenny Terlep was not present.