I grew up on a small farm in Oregon with my ten brothers and sisters. Milking the cows before getting on the schoolbus taught me the value of hard work. Raising my own kids on our farm in Honaunau for the last 20 years has taught me the hardships of making a living on our island along with the gifts the ‘Aina offers us. My professional work has always been in agricultural community development. Bringing rural communities together to improve our lives is my personal mission.
My education supports this work - two masters degrees from UC Davis in agriculture and community development, and a bachelor degree in Political Science and Community Studies from U of O (Go Ducks!). You’ve seen me every Saturday morning at the Keauhou Farmers Market with ripe avocados for the last 17 years because I’m not afraid to get up early, be consistent, and talk to people in our community.
Like the County Council, I’ve served with many groups of 8-12 people making good decisions for the group. Starting with my large family, then serving on boards (Kona Coffee Farmers Association, Kona County Farm Bureau, Kona Coffee Council, HDOA Committee on Food Safety, oriGIn, American Origin Product Association, Beyond Pesticides, and the National Organic Standards Board), I’m very effective at getting action and results with a governing group this size. I’m ready to work like this on our Hawaii County Council and with the Mayor. In all these entities, I’ve taken leadership roles, often President or Committee Chair, and usually I go in with goals of what I’d like to accomplish on behalf of the group.
- I’ve been fighting the fraudulent marketing of Kona coffee for two decades and was recently part of infusing 6 million dollars back into the Kona farming community of lost income through our class action lawsuit, as a class head. I will stand up for our local community members and small businesses to get their fair share.
- When the state would not protect our Kona and Ka’u origin coffees, I took the fight to the national level co-founding the American Origin Protection Association and internationally with oriGIn as their VP for north America, fighting for origin product protection. When I need to collaborate with our HI state and national legislators to get things done, I will make it happen.
- On the National Organic Standards Board for 5 years, I took action to change the structure of the committees, their leadership and process, which changed the outcomes of the votes for a decade. Our Community Development Plan is caught between two processes which will lead to different outcomes. I will work to get a process with as much real representation for our diverse community segments as possible.
- The pandemic is not over, and we need to keep our families safe as we navigate oncoming waves of the virus while continuing to work, go to school, and play. I will help find creative ways on the County Council to protect our community without making our lives difficult. Many people are still grieving loss of family members, or their health if they have Long Covid, or their financial stability. Support needs to be offered.
- I’ve been living off-grid with my family on cachement and solar electric for two decades, driving a hybrid car, and weed-whacking with an electric machine. I farm organically with local inputs. I will always be bold about suggesting big jumps to get off fossil fuels and make our climate healthy. Yet, I know how hard this is for us as a community, so we will strive together to do our best for a better future.