Molokai and Hawaii – Island Politics

Planning for Managed Tourism

Wednesday, December 14th, 2022

By Sage Yamashita, Intern Reporter

On a small, rural island like Molokai, whose residents have fought for preservation of their cultural heritage and against overdevelopment, tourism is a controversial subject. Many residents welcomed the lack of visitors brought by the pandemic, while local businesses often suffer from drops in visitor numbers. In an effort to rebuild, redefine and reset the direction of tourism, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is making progress with the Molokai Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP). Over a three-year period, the plan’s focus is on the stabilization, recovery and rebuilding of the visitor industry for the island.

 “HTA was getting a lot of heat at the state legislature because in 2019, Hawaii had a record breaking number of tourists, over 10 million that came to Hawaii,” said Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, county councilmember for Molokai, and member of the HTA’s Molokai Task Force.…

Voters Decide Future

Wednesday, November 16th, 2022

Voters Decide Future

By Jack Kiyonaga, Community Reporter

The highly anticipated general election took place last Tuesday, Nov. 8 .  Residents voted in a new governor and new Maui County mayor, and three Molokai candidates were elected to state and county offices.

Democrat Lt. Gov. Josh Green defeated Republican candidate Duke Aiona 64 to 33 percent in the governor’s race. Hawaii voters re-elected Democrat Senator Brian Schatz in a lopsided 71 to 21 percent win over Republican challenger Bob McDermott.

Richard Bissen took 59 percent of the statewide vote to beat out incumbent Mike Victorino for Maui County Mayor.

Three Molokai candidates came out on top in competitive races for county councilmember, state representative and state senator.…

How to Vote and What Happens After That

Friday, November 4th, 2022

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

The deadline to vote in the general election is quickly approaching next Tuesday, Nov. 8. There are several ways you can make your voice count in this important opportunity to choose candidates who carry your vision for the future. There are four Molokai candidates on the ballot. 

If you’re already registered to vote and you received a ballot in the mail, you can return it by U.S. Postal Service up until Nov. 8. This is a departure from what the Dispatch previously reported, but Kathy Kaohu, county clerk whose office handles elections processing in Maui County, said an agreement with the Postal Service allows ballots mailed between now and Election Day to be processed separately from the rest of the mail. …

Ranked Choice Voting

Friday, November 4th, 2022

Governor Ige recently signed extremely limited Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) legislation which would allow voters an opportunity to “rank” candidates in a particular race.

How many times has one not voted for their preferred candidate for fear that someone they do not support would win? With RCV, one chooses the candidate they would most rather have for the specific position. If their preferred candidate does not receive the most votes, who would be a second choice for the voter?

The candidate with the fewest votes is removed and those voters who chose that individual then have their second choice receive their vote. This process continues until a candidate receives 50 percent plus one and they are then elected.…

Vote in the General Election

Friday, October 28th, 2022

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

It’s time to vote! The general election is quickly approaching and last week, Molokai registered voters received their ballots in the mail. The deadline for your ballot to be received is Tuesday, Nov. 8 so it must be postmarked in advance, or it can dropped off at the voter service center in Kaunakakai by Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. 

Now is the time to participate in this important part of community-building to voice your preference for candidates who align with your values and vision for the future. Along with candidates statewide, four Molokai residents appear on the ballot running for key seats in this election.…

Candidate Hui Tour to Molokai

Thursday, October 13th, 2022

‘Onipa‘a 2022 News Release 

‘Onipa‘a 2022, a hui that unites Council candidates Noelani Ahia, Nara Boone, Jordan Hocker, Gabe Johnson, Robin Knox, Tamara Paltin, Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, and Shane Sinenci, announced the launch of their district tour. The Molokai event will be on Oct. 27 at 11:30 a.m. at the Molokai Canoe Club.

‘Onipa‘a 2022, is a people’s movement, arising out of a decade of grassroots organizing, acknowledging hard-fought advancements that could be lost this election without voter participation.

Two years ago, for the first time in Maui County history, the Council gained a progressive majority of five members, which resulted in extensive legislation to manage tourism and reduce vacation rentals,  promote long-term, affordable housing opportunities for residents, create a department of agriculture to increase food security, address climate change and sea level rise impacts, care for our unsheltered ‘ohana, fund farmers’ microgrants and promote local businesses, increase transparency and accessibility by transitioning Council meetings online, and more. …

Mahalo for the Votes

Wednesday, August 24th, 2022

Mahalo nui, Molokai! I am honored to have been chosen by our voters as the Democratic Candidate for House District 13 advancing to the General Election. Please know that each and every one of your votes made a difference. Molokai showed up at the polls, and it showed in the results. The love, support and encouragement I’ve received from our community and communities across our district fuels my determination to solidify this win for our people and ‘aina. I am excited to hit the ground running and look forward to engaging with residents across our district to bring forward place-based, community driven solutions that address our most pressing issues in ways that make sense for us and our way of life. …

Election Results Bring Some Surprises

Wednesday, August 17th, 2022

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

Saturday’s Primary Election will bring some experienced candidates to November’s General Election, as well as some new faces to politics for Molokai representation. 

In a highly anticipated race for Democratic District 7 State Senator, an office currently held by Molokai’s Lynn DeCoite, she successfully defended her seat against Molokai’s Walter Ritte. DeCoite earned 55.1 percent of votes statewide, while Ritte garnered 30.6 percent. DeCoite will appear on the general election ballot along with Republican candidate Tamara McKay, who won 65.9 percent of her party’s votes, according to the Hawaii Office of Election’s results report as of 1 pm Sunday.…

Last Chance to Vote

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

If you haven’t already cast your ballot, there’s still time! This Saturday, Aug. 13 is the last chance to vote in the primary election. If you received a ballot in the mail and haven’t postmarked it yet, it won’t arrive in time to count now so you can drop it off in person at the Voter Service Center at Mitchell Pauole Center. You can also vote electronically through machine there or register to vote same day so you can still vote even if you’ve never done it before.

Voter Service Center hours this week are 8 a.m.…


Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022


By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

Are you a registered voter who’s already received your ballot in the mail? Are you a Molokai resident who’s never voted before? Either way, vote! Now is the time to participate in this important part of community-building to voice your preference for candidates who align with your values and vision for the future. Along with candidates statewide, six Molokai residents appear on the ballot running for key seats in this election. 

Overview: The primary election is held to nominate candidates who will represent each political party in November’s general election.

What: 2022 Primary Election

When: If you are already a registered voter, you already received your ballot in the mail and can mail it back now.…