Two forums this week to help voters get more familiar with 2024 primary candidates

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There are two events this week aimed at helping Big Island voters become more familiar with candidates, including those for mayor, in the upcoming August primary election.

The four leading candidates for Hawai‘i County mayor — Kimo Alameda, Breeani Kobayashi, incumbent Mitch Roth and Jr Tupa‘i — will speak and answer questions from the public during a forum hosted by AARP Hawai‘i and Na Leo TV from 6 to 7 p.m. today at Aunt Sally Kaleohano’s Lū‘au Hale, located at 799 Piilani St. in Hilo.

Residents can attend the forum in person. It also will be broadcast live Channel 55 on Na Leo TV and its website as well as the AARP Hawai‘i Facebook page.

“AARP Hawai‘i and Na Leo are presenting the forum as a public service to help voters get informed about the issues facing Hawai‘i County and the candidates who want to lead us,” said Keali‘i Lopez, AARP Hawai‘i state director. “We know that older voters often decide elections and we encourage the candidates to be aware of issues that matter to kūpuna and encourage kūpuna to let elected officials know what you think about the issues.”


Another forum is planned for 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Kahilu Town Hall, across from Kahilu Theatre, in Waimea.

All candidates for Hawai‘i County mayor, Hawai‘i House of Representatives District 8 (North/South Kohala), Hawai‘i County Council District 1 (Waimea and Hāmākua) and County Council District 9 (Waimea, Waikōloa, Puakō, Kawaihae, North Kohala) are committed to a “speed dating” forum hosted by the Waimea Community Association.

Those candidates, in alphabetical order, are:

  • The seven mayoral candidates Kimo Alameda, Daniel Cunningham, Kavin Kahikina, Yumi Kawano, Breeani Kobayashi, incumbent Mitch Roth and Jr Tupa‘i.
  • The two state House District 8 candidates Monique CobbAdams Perreira and incumbent David Tarnas.
  • The three County Council District 1 candidates Brittany Anderson, incumbent Heather Kimball and BJ Penn.
  • Three three County Council District 9 candidates incumbent Cindy Evans, James Hustace and Michael Konowicz.

The entire community is invited to what will be an informative evening and up-close encounter with each candidate.

All participants are seated in groups scattered around the room and candidates visit each group to introduce themselves, answer questions and share their priorities. Each grouping will have a volunteer facilitator to help keep the conversation flowing.

Everyone is urged to arrive early to sign in, have time to talk with candidates as well as representatives of the League of Women Voters, who will be on hand to talk about registering to vote or updating your voter registration, if needed.


They also will have details about the League’s popular VOTE411 online platform that provides non-partisan information about all primary candidates.

Coming early also gives attendees time to grab coffee or a cold drink and light snack, compliments of the Waimea Community Association.

The “speed dating” forum begins promptly at 5 p.m.

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