(BIVN) – The next Hawaiʻi County Council member for Puna’s district 4 is ready for the coming year.
On December 1, a few days before officially taking office, then councilmember-elect Ashley Kierkiewicz and her supporters marched in Pāhoa Holiday Parade.
“It was a very spirited event,” Kierkiewicz said. “I think we had several dozen floats and a huge turnout this year and I think everything that the community has experienced over the last few months has really united folks. People wanted to show up and just celebrate Pāhoa and everything that they’re proud of.”
Following the destructive eruption of Kīlauea on the lower East Rift Zone, Kierkiewicz said “it’s been massively humbling to hear from folks. Despite many people losing everything, I think they’re still very positive with their outlook in life. They’re just really happy with what they have and they’re happy to move forward. And they know that they have this entire community behind them and so that makes things a bit easier,” she stated.
After the event, the new councilwoman talked about her future legislative plans for the Puna district.
“Now that I’m in government – while I’ve been in the private sector, a community person my whole life – and now I’m hoping to serve as a bridge between the two,” Kierkiewicz said.
“In my first quarter in office, I’m hoping to put together an activation event and so I worked with a group, Temple Children, to bring the large scale murals to downtown Hilo over a series of years,” Kierkiewicz said. “What we would like to do is bring in global artists to paint three murals in Pāhoa town and then during an unveiling event having like a Pāhoa block party and a taste of Puna event.”
Along with the 8 other councilmembers, Kierkiewicz was sworn into office on Monday during an event at the Hilo Civic Auditorium.
“We’re definitely part of the next generation of leaders,” Kierkiewicz said, talking about the community effort that took place at Puʻuhonua O Puna during the Kīlauea eruption. “If you take a look at all of the captains and everybody that was involved; youngblood. I think that’s what made the community really proud, it was all these young people rising up to take care of one another.”