Michael Konowicz announces candidacy for Hawai‘i County representing Kohala Districts

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Michael Konowicz of Waikōloa announced his candidacy for Hawai‘i County’s District 9 representing North and South Kohala residents.

He will be going up against incumbent Cindy Evans.

Konowicz is a professional broadcast meteorologist and environmental news reporter, forecasting the weather and reporting on earth science news stories around the world, primarily for a mainland audience.

Up until now, Konowicz has also served as president of the Big Island Press Club, the state’s oldest press club. He stepped down as president to avoid any perception of a conflict of interest with his campaign.

“It has been a treat to serve alongside such talented individuals and Hawai‘i journalism legends. I am so thankful that the Club gave this meteorologist the opportunity to explore out of his comfort zone and tackle new and different things. Whether it was executive producing our broadcast Mayoral Forum in the 2020 election, fundraising for the Scholarship Foundation, or drafting testimony and testifying on an assortment of bills before the county and state, I feel that I grew so much professionally as a member of this club, and moreso as its president,” Konowicz said.

In his broadcast work and most of his science reporting endeavors, Konowicz uses the professional name “Michael Phillips”, an air name given to him by producers at his first TV weatherman job on the U.S. East Coast. He has used it ever since on television, radio, and in print, and used it while at the helm of the Big Island Press Club.


Konowicz is also the executive producer of a new animated television series in development loosely based on his life. Konowicz explained, “I’ve been working on many projects to get keiki involved in weather and science, and I’m excited to see this endeavor come to life in the coming months.”

Outside of weather and earth science news, Konowicz also developed “Insiders” groups on Facebook, curating content and community conversation on a wide variety of neighborhood-specific issues and concerns. Waimea Insiders and Waikōloa Insiders have been the most popular of the groups, getting the attention of the county which will use those groups to convey important information through a digital resilience hub strategy.

Konowicz also collects data from Insider participants on a variety of concerns, ranging from local government issues to favorite restaurants. With more than 7,000 participants who regularly interact online, the Insider Polls provide insights to drive the content on the Insiders groups while also giving Konowicz insights on what issues he should champion through his candidacy.

Konowicz also launched “GrindzInsiders” on Facebook and Instagram, which provides in-depth reviews, insights, and inside information on restaurants and eating and drinking experiences around the island.

“I’m a foodie at heart and love celebrating the fruit of the labors of the dedicated fishermen, ranchers, and farmers on our island that provide their bounty to local restaurants. And I love offering praise and constructive feedback to the local restaurant teams to celebrate just how good the Big Island food scene is,” Konowicz said.


Konowicz continues to serve as a Director on the Waikōloa Village Association Board, a role he’s had since 2022. He also served as a Director for the Elima Lani AOAO inside Waikoloa in 2023.

Konowicz has also been active on the local government scene. In addition to providing testimony frequently to County and State boards, commissions, and councils, Konowicz also served as Chair to one.

In 2022, Mayor Mitch Roth appointed Konowicz to the Hawai‘i County Cost of Government Commission; after the county council unanimously approved the appointment, he was elected chair of the board. After many public meetings that involved interviewing department heads and staff around county government, the commission released an 87-page report outlining ways the county could be run more efficiently.

Konowicz has been working with the county council recently to introduce a charter amendment to adjust the term of the commission to make it more productive and effective, which was one of the key recommendations made in the report.

Konowicz also played a role in shaping his council and legislative districts. When the county Redistricting Commission proposed splitting up Waikōloa Beach from Waikōloa Village and/or Waikōloa Village from Waimea, he was able to rally more than 70 people to testify in the process. While that effort was successful, a similar effort to do the same with the State Reapportionment Committee wasn’t, leading Konowicz and others in Hawai‘i to launch a lawsuit. That lawsuit wasn’t successful, leaving Waikōloa Village split into two state house districts.


Konowicz has become one of Hawai‘i County’s newest CERT members. Administered through Civil Defense, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is designed to facilitate community resilience. To be a member of CERT, Konowicz participated in 16 hours of online training and 16 hours of in-personal practical training in Waikōloa on first aid, fire fighting, and basic search and rescue skills. He also participated in a CERT drill in Waimea.

“Unfortunately, we’re always perilously close to the next natural disaster on the Big Island. I wanted to go through the CERT training service to better understand their role in the future while also becoming a resource myself that could be deployed when Civil Defense activates us,” Konowicz said.

Konowicz is an active philanthropist in his free time, donating time and money or encouraging others to do the same for local schools, parks and people in need. Konowicz is also a member of the Big Island Jeep Club, a 4×4 aficionado group that regularly cleans beaches, plants trees, and removes trash from hard-to-get places around the island.

While Konowicz has owned multiple properties on Hawai‘i for over 20 years, the Big Island has only been his full-time home for the last seven. After originally living in Waikōloa Beach, Konowicz now resides alone at his residence in Waikōloa Village.

Konowicz said, “One of the things I promised myself when I moved here was to get involved, make a positive difference, and make the Island an even better place than it was when I arrived. By running for County Council, I hope to future-proof it and embark on programs that make housing more affordable, invest in our infrastructure so that we can sustain tomorrow, and make sure government is open, honest, and accountable.”

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