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Molokai Candidate Q&A’s

Editor’s note: The Molokai Dispatch reached out to both Molokai council candidates and OHA Molokai trustee candidates for Q&A responses, with the goal that Molokai voters who are still undecided on home island candidates can make the most educated decisions on their ballots. Candidates were given a max of 200 words to respond to each question. Only the two council candidates shared their answers, and their full responses are printed here.

By The Molokai Dispatch Staff


Stacy Helm Crivello

The Molokai Dispatch (TMD): Why are you running for election/re-election?

Stacy Helm Crivello (SHC): I am running to continue our journey together as an island of people to serve Molokai as well as Lanai and Molokai.

TMD: How would you help Molokai recover from the pandemic and what do you think is the most important thing the community can take away from the situation?

SHC: We have a personal kuleana to take care. Remember to practice our efforts to limit social distancing, wash our hands, wear our masks and to stay safe. The pandemic has expanded our lens to appreciate who we are and where we come from. We have an opportunity to reset our lifestyle to embrace our values of caring for one another and our lands and resources.

TMD: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Molokai in general and how would you address it?

SHC: Our challenges remain economics and other dismal forces that frays our choices. We can continue to support our entrepreneurs and farmers. We can expand training and education in healthcare, and to malama our natural resources.

TMD: With barge issues and food security concerns coming to the forefront in recent months, what would you do to ensure the community continues to be fed?

SHC: The barge issues are decided by the PUC. Support our local businesses. We can also start from our homes and backyards to subsist our meals. Gardening and raising our food.

We live on a special island. We can continue to make it easy for our businesses and our homemade value added products to produce. Turn our liabilities (overpopulation of deer) to an asset. We need local government to help build the facilities and provide what is required.

TMD: What else would you like Molokai voters to know about you?

SHC: I humbly mahalo Molokai for imbedding the spirit of aloha in our lives. Our footprints of yesterday and today can continue as we work totter to pass our values to the generations to come.


Keani Rawlins-Fernandez

The Molokai Dispatch (TMD): Why are you running for election/re-election?

Keani Rawlins-Fernandez (KRF): I’m running for re-election because I love our home, where I was born and raised. My desire to protect it inspired me to earn a degree in law and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

It has been an honor to serve as the Council Vice-Chair and Budget Committee Chair in my first term. Community empowerment is important to me, and it drives my advocacy for increased transparency and public participation.

My top priorities include economic recovery, affordable housing and quality of life for our residents. This term I led the establishment of tiered property taxes, which enabled council to substantially decrease taxes for our residents and local businesses during our communities greatest time of need; and I am now working diligently to increase long-term rental opportunities for our residents. A strong economy helps keep people in homes, mortgages, rents, utilities paid, and businesses thriving.

I plan to continue exploring ways for us to manage the tourism industry, to protect our environment, natural resources, and way of life.

Our community deserves a voice you can trust and rely on in all decision-making. I have proven to be that voice. You can learn more about me at votekeani.com.

TMD: How would you help Molokai recover from the pandemic and what do you think is the most important thing the community can take away from the situation?

KRF: From my perspective, I feel reassured that Molokai is resilient, and abundant in so many ways. Our island is innovative and draws on the strengths of our island and people that serves as building blocks for economic diversification, and industries to protect our natural resources, and provide true self-sufficiency and sustainability. While the rest of our County relied heavily on tourism, we have always relied on ourselves to support each other.

In the immediate future, I will continue to support additional assistance for food, housing, and medical support, while also utilizing this time to identify and eliminate dependencies on outside resources that prevent prioritizing local food production and security.

In the long term, I plan to work with UHMC to offer classes that will develop new career opportunities that complement our local lifestyle, our geographic isolation, and increase our self-reliance.

TMD: With barge issues and food security concerns coming to the forefront in recent months, what would you do to ensure the community continues to be fed?

KRF: Thankfully, a handful of organizations started working on this years ago to create the infrastructure necessary to help us feed ourselves. Taking the lead is Sustainable Molokai, using its Agriculture Needs Assessment published in 2012, which called for a Mobile Market. It also recently started an egg-layers program, which hopes to replace the need for our stores to import over 100,000 eggs each month. Another example includes continuing to work with Maui Food Bank, and others, to establish a warehouse facility that can store and distribute food surplus, serving as a food pantry.

My objective is to ensure government support through funding and legislation that fortifies local agricultural and farming, ranching, and diversified businesses, while enhancing and encouraging Molokai self-sufficiency and economic sustainability.

More immediately, I plan to continue my collaboration with Molokai businesses and farmers, to find partnership opportunities that help narrow down and better identify supply and demand for our island and solidifies a solid support structure for “buying local.” In the long-term, I would like to support efforts to diversify our shipping industry to decrease our reliance on a single company, which currently costs a premium rate.

TMD: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Molokai in general and how would you address it?

KRF: I believe that Molokai will overcome any challenge the future may hold, so long as we invest in what our strength has, and always will be – being an extended ‘ohana that develops solutions together.

Our common connection is our community and way of life since time immemorial. We have been at the mercy of several issues in the recent past that have resulted in lines drawn, even between families.

We are stronger together as a united front. No one knows Molokai the way Molokai does, and that is something I feel I have been successful in helping my colleagues on the Council to understand. I take the pride of our island to the chamber floor everytime I speak. I represent our community with humility and passion, to assure our strong voice is received in every decision that ultimately impacts our people and our island.

This is not a kuleana that I take lightly. I understand that we may not see eye to eye on everything, but I am honored to be your voice and I always think about our generational connections, our family and community ties, and speak as someone who represents our community united not divided.

TMD: What else would you like Molokai voters to know about you?

KRF: Molokai deserves leadership that will go above and beyond to represent us, someone who will fight hard to secure the things that our island needs. I believe it’s important to know what our elected officials do in office, and that our community be part of decision-making.

What sets me apart from my opponent is that I work really hard to be inclusive of everyone and I used our Community Plan to guide me. I hosted monthly town hall meetings to give our community an opportunity to be included, and assembled and supported community working groups to pursue the changes they were looking for.

Through these working groups, we hosted Molokai’s first climate resiliency summit, initiated a smokeless incinerator project at our landfill, and successfully funded a Molokai Climate Resiliency Plan that has created jobs on-island.

Molokai is assured a strong voice and the ability to participate in issues that matter the most to our community now more than ever, because I spearheaded the transition to remote online meetings, to accept live public testimony from wherever a testifier is, making it easier to testify and offer mana’o in all deliberations.

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