Malama O Puna hosted the 2nd Hawaii County Council Forum Thursday, July 14th in Pahoa.
Hawaii County Council candidates Jen Ruggles and Danny Paleka answered questions. Ruggles and Paleka are the only 2 candidates for the district 5 Puna race.
All questions asked by the moderator were worded in a neutral, non-leading form. Both Puna candidates rotated first through last in the answering sequence, so that no candidate had an unfair advantage. Both candidates gave an introductory statement of three minutes.
Because Malama O Puna is an environmental nonprofit, its board selected the first questions. The questions hit on road side weed control, the styrofoam ban, roads, and government corruption. The questions were not yes-no questions, but required knowledge of the issues and allowed the attendees to gain insight into the thinking of the candidate. The next phase of the program took questions from the audience until 8 p.m., when the event ended.
Ruggles emphasized how her opponent was the swing vote on keeping Monsonto brand Roundup in the county budget. She also showed how Paleka was also the swing vote on defeating the Styrofoam Ban, while stressing her support of the bill. Ethics was also discussed, and Ruggles mentioned how her opponent was again the swing vote defeating Ethics Bill 101 to strengthen the Hawaii County Ethics Commission.
Walk-in absentee voting in Hilo starts on August 1 and goes until August 11 at the Hawaii County Building in Hilo. The primary election will be held on Saturday, August 13 at the different polling places.