Meet your 2019 HCC Executive Committee Nominees

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HCC Chair - Heather Kimball

Aloha Fellow Democrats!

My name is Heather Kimball and I am asking for your vote for Hawaii County Chair. Serving as HCC Assistant Secretary and 2019 Convention Planning Co-Chair, it’s clear that we have a lot of work to do to prepare us for 2020 and beyond. As Chair I will provide the district chairs and precinct presidents with the resources they need to keep current members involved and recruit new members. I will also work with everyone to bring unity and civil discourse back to our party. I think we all agree that we want justice, fairness and prosperity in our community, and though we may disagree on how to achieve these goals, we can still treat each other with respect and learn from each other. We need everyone working together to get the monster out of the White House!

I come from a family of teachers and currently teach geography and ecology at UH Hilo. I have been a coach for Kamehameha Canoe club for the last several years and was a member of the board for a decade. I was one of the organizers for the Hilo Women’s March and the March for Science. I serve on the board of the Grassroots Community Development Group and the state chapter of the Sierra Club I was recently appointed to the County Board of Appeals. My husband, Scott, owner of a local architecture firm, and I have lived and raised our four daughters in Papaikou for 15 years.

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HCC Eastside Vice Chair - Gerri Kahili

Aloha fellow Democrats! I am Gerri Carvalho Kahili and I’m running for East Hawai’I Vice Chair and ask your consideration and vote.   I’ve met and worked with many of you, most likely at County Conventions or the  Grand Rallies, or, out sign waving, knocking on doors in East Hawai’I or at campaign meetings and events over the past 20 years for U.S. Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, and others in County and State races.
I’m a relatively new retiree from the State Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources, where I was the Division of Aquatics Secretary for the East Hawaii office.
Some of you may know I’m Andy Kahili’s wife of 29 years and we have three grown children -- Kelly (a Hawai’i County Police Department Detective ), Jena (a contract IT Specialist at Ft. Shafter) and Brandon (an Air Force ParaRescue Specialist who recently returned from a deployment in Iraq). In addition I am a grandma to 4 grandchildren.
My journey as a strong Democrat began with my father, who was very involved in local political races for Mayor and County Council.
I am committed to transparency, inclusiveness and respect.  I believe in open, frequent communication and recognize the need to engage the next generations in the party.
As many of you might know, I’m quite vocal on social media about the current state of affairs in the White House and Congress, and am more motivated than ever to help rid our country of this menace, and also, to move Hawai’i forward.   There still are many here struggling with our high cost of living, lack of adequate education and job training, poor access to healthcare, and shortage of affordable housing.
I would appreciate your vote of support for East Hawai’i Vice Chair.  MAHALO!

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HCC Westside Vice Chair - Bronsten Kalei Kossow 

Bronsten Kalei Kossow was born and raised in Holualoa where he is a 4th generation coffee farmer and a 5th generation Democrat. A graduate of Makua Lani, and currently attending the University of Hawaii at Hilo pursuing a degree in political science. As an Eagle Scout of the Scouts, his project was to create an informational and interment directory for the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery. He is currently the Boy Scouts Finance chair and chair of the Ellison Onizuka Day of Exploration, Chair of public relations for Rotary Kona Sunrise Club, Kona Crime Prevention Committee member, and the chairman for Hawaii County Game Management Advisory Commissioner. Bronsten currently works as the Operations Manager for Paradise Helicopters and is the CEO of the Ho'ilina Project which creates an intergenerational database, certifies companies with Native Hawaiian culture, history, and traditions, with a longterm goal by building micro-unit homes for low-income Native Hawaiian families.

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HCC Westside Vice Chair - Zahava Zaidoff

Zahava Zaidoff  is a wife and mother who is also a Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS). She has spent over a decade working to eliminate stigma associated with mental illness, addiction, human trafficking, and trauma with her focus being on creating protective factors.   She is a trainer on a variety of topics, including Mental Health First Aid, codependency, human trafficking,  protective factors, and communication skills. She is a fierce advocate for those living with behavioral health challenges, engaging in the political process as co-chair of the legislative committee for the Democratic Party of Hawaii.

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HCC Secretary - Jeff McKnight

Jeff McKnight currently works full time as a Consultant for Bear Communications.  He is also the President of The Olohana Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Hawaii that works with communities to co-build resilience and adaption strategies to climate change. Jeff and Nedra, his wife of 22 years enjoy traveling, hiking, cycling and community volunteer work.

 Jeff moved from California to Hawaii 12 years ago living the last 7 years in Paauilo.  He has been active in the Democratic Party going all the way back to elementary school during which time he helped his mom campaign for Robert F. Kennedy. He currently holds a position as the Hawaii Island Representative with the State Central Committee serving on both the Legislative and Rules Committees. He is also the District 1 Vice Chair and Secretary for both the Hawaii County Committee and the Environmental Caucus.

Hawaii is an amazing and beautiful place. We need to do all we can to protect the land, water and culture from climate change and exploitation by big mainland corporations. The goal for Hawaii should be to design an economy of good jobs that pay both a living wage and do not compromise the health of our communities or our ecosystems. Jeff is running for County Secretary to help put these goals into action and give the people that live here a voice in determining our future.

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HCC Assistant Secretary - Colleen Kelly

Colleen Kelly is currently retired. She spent 30 years in the High-Tech industry working in IT, organizational development, strategic planning, and marketing. She has owned small businesses in marketing and photography. Colleen enjoys activism and quilting and provides business support for her husband Michael’s automated gate business.

 Colleen has been a grassroots activist for over thirty years. She was an activist in the ACLU and The National Abortion and Reproductive Action League in California working for the reproductive rights of women and civil liberties of youth in the criminal justice system. She was the election organizer for NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and a Precinct Committee Officer for the Democratic Party in Washington State. Since moving to the Big Island in 2017 she has been active in the Democratic Party and is currently the Precinct President for District 7/Precinct 4.

 I love our new home in Hawaii and believe in equality for all and living in a world where the people are empowered to protect their land and culture and can live a good life. I believe this can best be achieved by ensuring all people are empowered through action in local, State, and National government to provide a living wage, more than just adequate healthcare, and protect our island from climate change.

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HCC Treasurer - Charles Grigsby

Aloha my Sisters and Brothers,

My name is Charles Grigsby – universally called “Chuck” – and I am running for the office of Hawaii County Treasurer of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.  I have been serving as the County Assistant Treasurer for the past half year and have been the D7P2 Treasurer since the Presidential Preference Poll/precinct election in 2016.  My wife, Lois, and I have lived in Waikoloa since moving here full time in 2010. ʻO kuʻu iwi, mai ka'āina lōʻihi aku, akā, eia kuʻu puʻuwai, eia hoʻi kahi e mau ai koʻu mau iwi.

I am a retired chemical engineer, and spent my career working on a variety of energy and environmental projects.  I am deeply concerned with the imbalance in our global society between the narrow interests of individuals and the interests of the broader society.   That imbalance is seen in many ways – in the disenfranchisement of the poor and of people of color; in the power of large corporations to impose their will through the purchase of legislators; in the effects of spewing wastes into the atmosphere, the land and the ocean.  Democracy and democratic government are the only means by which we, the people, can protect ourselves from the undue control exercised by concentrated wealth and power.

I am dedicated in my retirement to working for a better, fairer world in the future.  I ask for your support in mobilizing our people to stand for the future we desire and against those who would destroy it.

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HCC Assistant Treasurer - Amy Miwa

Amy Miwa is a lifelong Democrat. She has served the HCC as Assistant Secretary, Acting Secretary, Assistant Treasurer and Treasurer. Amy has chaired the Grand Rallies for three election cycles and was was an advisor and committee member for the 2018 Grand Rallies. Amy is also a member of the Labor Caucus. As assistant treasurer, Amy will continue to advocate for and with elected officials who have the community’s best interests as their priority.

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Non Male Kanaka Oiwi - Luella Nohea Crutcher

My name is Luella Nohea Crutcher, I was raised on Maui, with parents who believed in education, and raised me with Hawaiian values.  They felt that going to Turtle Island (continental US) for nursing, would give me a broader prospective.  They were correct, with also a greater respect for our culture.  Married, had 3 sons, worked as an RN, then later co-founded and was Administrator of a Residential Chemical Dependency Treatment Program in Northern California (19 years).  Retired to Hawaii Island in 2004. 

I am happy that the board has chosen to include Kanaka Oiwi.  As a member of the “Host Culture”, I would like to share a tradition credited to Kamehameha I, but was always part of our history - KanawaiMamalahoe (Law of the Splintered Paddle) demonstrates our values that protect human rights and the safety of the elderly, women and children.  Aloha (caring, compassion for others, love), malama (caring, nurturing others, to protect), pono (right, good, moral, fair, just, integrity) and the respect for an individual’s kuleana (jurisdiction, authority, responsibility). These values could be applied to protecting Social Security (protecting the elderly); improving health issues like implementing Universal Healthcare, thus insuring good healthcare for all and respecting ALL Human Rights.

 I look forward, with humility (ha’aha’a) - - to working together (laulima) -- in unity, agreement and accord (lokahi) and to stand firm (kupa`a) when appropriate. I have skills in working with spread sheets and data base programs and offer my kokua (help),

 Malama Pono,  Nohea.

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Non Female Kanaka Oiwi - Devin Ali'i Keanaaina

Born and raise in Kalaoa North Kona, Alii Keanaaina is a traditional and contemporary singer/songwriter, as well as a recording artist. He is also the Kumu for Kaleilaniakeali’i Hula Studios and currently serving as “Mea Ho’okipa” (cultural consultant) at the Four Seasons Hualalai.