Candidate Profiles

Here’s a look at the candidates running for national, state, and county office. That’s everything from the governor to the council to the mayor to the folks who’ll represent us in Washington, D.C....
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Here’s a look at the candidates running for national, state, and county office. That’s everything from the governor to the council to the mayor to the folks who’ll represent us in Washington, D.C.

We’re providing brief bios and links to their websites (if we could find one) so you can make up your own mind.

NATIONAL

U.S. Senate

Brian Schatz (Democrat)

Incumbent. Former member of the state House of Representatives (1998-2006)  and Lt. Governor (2010-2012). Appointed to replace Sen. Daniel Inouye after his passing and elected to a full six-year term in the U.S. Senate in 2016.

Website: Brianschatz.com

Bob McDermott (Republican)

Served in the state House of Representatives from 1996 to 2002 and again from 2012 to the present. Beat four other contenders to win the August Republican primary, getting almost one third of the vote. 

Website: Votemcdermott.com

Feena Bonoan (Libertarian)

Served in the United States Navy from 2006 to 2016 and as the operations director for the Hawaiʻi Veterans Cannabis Alliance. Advanced unopposed through the Libertarian Party primary in August.

Website: Feenabonoan.com

Emma Jane Avila Pohlman (Green)

Big Island attorney. Advanced unopposed through the Green Party primary in August.

Website: N/A

Dan Decker (Aloha ʻĀina)

Aloha ʻĀina Party of Hawaiʻi’s Treasurer and CEO, having ousted the party’s founding officers. Advanced unopposed through the Aloha ʻĀina Party primary in August.

Website: N/A

U.S. House of Rep. (District 2)

Jill Tokuda (Democrat)

Businesswoman, served in the state Senate from 2006 to 2018. Was named executive director of the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center in 2019, and held an advisory role with the Hawaiʻi Data Collaborative during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Website: TokudaforHawaii.com

Joe Akana (Republican)

Former intelligence analyst with the U.S. Air Force. Retired federal project manager and current president of Arete Management, Inc.

Website: Joeakana.com 

Michelle Tippens (Libertarian)

U.S. Army veteran and executive director and acting president of the Hawaiʻi Veterans Cannabis Alliance. 

Website: N/A

STATE

Governor 

Josh Green (Democrat)

Physician who earned his MD from Pennsylvania State University and current Lt. Governor. Served in the state House from 2004-2008 and the state Senate from 2008-2018. Was the public face of the state’s response to COVID-19. 

Website: Joshgreenforhawaii.com

Duke Aiona (Republican)

Former attorney and Circuit Court judge who served two terms as Hawai‘i’s Lt. Governor under Linda Lingle from 2002 to 2010. Previous Republican nominee for Governor in 2010 and 2014.

Website: Dukeaiona.com

Lt. Governor

Sylvia Luke (Democrat)

Practicing attorney who has served in the state House of Representatives since 1998 from Oahu’s 26th and, subsequently, 25th districts.

Website: Sylvialukeforlg.com

Seaula Jr. Tupai (Republican)

Pastor, Hawai‘i National Guard Youth Challenge Academy instructor, football coach at Hilo High School and Kamehameha School Keaau.

Website: Votetupai.com

State Senate District 6

Angus McKelvey (Democrat)

Member of the state House since 2006. Chair of the Business and Economic Development Committee.

Website: Mac4senate6.com

Sheila Walker (Republican)

Retired former business owner. Holds membership in the Kihei Community Association and LāhaināTown Action Committee. Led last year’s effort to recall Mayor Victorino, which failed due to insufficient signatures. 

Website: Votesheilawalker.com

Melissah Shishido (Green)

Retired teacher and current UH student. Served on the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission. 

Website: Voteshishido.com

State Senate District 7

Lynn DeCoite (Democrat)

Incumbent. Served in the state House from 2015-2021. Appointed by Gov. David Ige to replace J. Kalani English in the state Senate in 2021.

Website: Lynndecoite.org

Tamara McKay (Republican)

Maui County Republican Party chair and Convention of States Grassroots coordinator.

Website: Votetamaramckay.com

State House District 11

Terez Amato (Democrat)

Sierra Club treasurer and member of the Maui Farmers Union. Previously ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate in 2018.

Website: Terezamato.nationbuilder.com

Shekinah Cantere (Republican)

Former Hawaiian studies teacher at Kamaliʻi Elementary School and first-time candidate.

Website: Cantereformaui.com

State House District 12

Kyle Yamashita (Democrat)

Member of the state House since 2004. Serves on the Finance, Government Reform, Legislative Management, and Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness committees.

Website: N/A

Dan Johnson (Republican)

Maui-born construction project manager and first-time candidate.

Website: Votedanjohnson.godaddysites.com

Summer Starr (Green)

Activist with a master’s degree in indigenous politics from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa, and another master’s degree in environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School. Former Policy Consultant and Legislative Coordinator for the Hawaii Center for Food Safety. Previously a manager at solar electric installer Rising Sun Solar.

Website: Holomua.org

State House District 13

Mahina Poepoe (Democrat)

Former small business owner, legislative analyst, outreach assistant for the Molokai Maui Invasive Species Committee.

Website: Votemahina.com

Scott Adam (Republican)

Sports-training program director and snowboarding coach, first-time candidate.

Website: Votescottadam.com

Nick Nikhilananda (Green)

Former public school teacher. Holds an M.A. in Public Law and Urban Affairs from the American University in Washington, D.C. 

Website: Friendsofnikhilananda.com

State House District 14

Elle Cochran (Democrat)

Longtime community activist. Served as a County Councilmember from West Maui for eight years before running unsuccessfully for Mayor in 2018. 

Website: Voteellecochran.com

Kelly Armstrong (Republican)

Advanced unopposed through the Republican primary in August.

Website: Kellyjarmstrong.com

Leonard Nakoa (Aloha ʻĀina) 

Advanced unopposed through the Aloha ʻĀina primary in August.

Website: N/A

LOCAL

Mayor (non-partisan)

Michael Victorino

Incumbent. Served 10 years on Maui County Council, 2007-2016. Former general manager at Zales Jewelers, McDonald’s Corp., and Bishop Insurance Agency. Served on the State Board of Education, 1998-2000. Chaired the Board of Water Supply, 2004-2006, after two years as vice chair. Former Director, Maui County Fair; former President, Maui Family Support Services; former Director, Maui County Community Concerns (Ka Hale O Ke Ola). Youth baseball and soccer coach. Father of MLB All-Star and World Series Champion outfielder Shane Victorino.

Website: Victorinoformayor.com

Richard Bissen

Retired Second Circuit Court Chief Judge with 16 years experience on the bench. Founding member of the Maui Drug Court Program. Hawaiʻi’s 2021 Jurist of the Year. A past member of the Hawaiʻi Juvenile Justice State Advisory Committee, and the statewide Office of Violence Against Women Planning Committee. He has served on the boards of Maui United Way, Maui Memorial Medical Center, and Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaiʻi, and the advisory committee or PTA of five local schools. 

Website: Bissenmovement.com

County Council (non-partisan)

East Maui

Claire Carroll

President of Hana Community Association. Member, Hana Advisory Committee to the Planning Commission. Formerly worked for a medical supply company. Daughter of longtime councilman Bob Carroll, who retired in 2018. 

Website: Claireformaui.com

Shane Sinenci

Incumbent. Chairs Agriculture and Public Trust Committee. Former special education teacher. Vocal proponent of the creation of an East Maui Water Authority to equitably distribute rainwater collected on the windward side and manage the plantation-era East Maui Irrigation ditch system.

Website: Votesinenci.com

West Maui

Tamara Paltin

Incumbent. Chair, Planning and Sustainable Land Use Committee. Long-time Ocean Safety Officer (lifeguard) and emergency responder, 2001-2018. Ka Ipu Kukui Leadership Fellow 2008-present. Co-founder of nonprofit Save Honolua Coalition. 

Website: Tamarapaltin.org

Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu

Noelani Ahia

Acupuncturist-herbalist. Houseless advocate and iwi protector. Co-founder of Mauna Medics Healing Hui, which provides medical support during protests against observatory development on Mauna Kea and Haleakala. 

Website: Voteahia.com

Alice Lee 

Incumbent and current council chair. Formerly a council member from 1989-1999. Ran for mayor in 1998, narrowly defeated by Democrat Kimo Apana in the primaries. Director of Housing and Human Concerns 1999-2006. 

Website: N/A

Kahului

Tasha Kama

Incumbent and presiding officer pro tempore. Chairs Human Concerns and Parks Committee. Former pastor of Wailuku’s Christian Ministry Church. Kama helped found the Waiohuli-Keokea Homestead Association.

Website: Friendsoftashakama.com

Buddy Nobriga

Sales and marketing manager for a fourth-generation, family-owned business: Maui Soda & Ice Works, Ltd., makers of Roselani Ice Cream. Nobriga chairs the Maui County Board of Water Supply and led Mayor Victorino’s Economic Recovery Task Force during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Website: Buddynobriga.com

South Maui

Tom Cook

Journeyman carpenter, mason, structural concrete worker, and a general contractor on Maui for over 25 years. A former member of the Maui General Plan Advisory Committee and the Maui Nui Affordable Housing Task Force, Cook currently acts as community liaison for the county administration. He is the top fundraiser among council candidates since the August primary. 

Website: Friendsoftomcook.com

Robin Knox

Owner and principal scientist for a water quality testing and consulting company. Experienced in beach restoration, resource management, and injection wells research. Endorsed by outgoing South Maui councilmember Kelly King. 

Website: Robin4maui.com

Makawao-Haʻikū-Pāʻia

Nara Boone

Professional singer and music teacher. Daughter of well-known Haʻikū midwife, Tina Garzero. Her come-from-behind primary defeat of third-place candidate Dave Deleon (an assistant to Mayor Linda Lingle in the 1990s) by a narrow 350-vote margin came as a surprise to many.

Website: Votenaraboone.com

Nohe Uu-Hodgins

Former accountant with a multigenerational family history in Pāʻia and strong personal and family ties to the Hawaiʻi carpenters union. Currently works as a permit expediter at F&L (Frampton & Ward) Land Company, LLC.

Website: Votenohe.com

Upcountry

Jordan Hocker

Researcher, sustainable science management major, and community advocate. First-time candidate. 

Website: Hocker4mauicounty.com

Yuki Lei Sugimura

Incumbent. Chairs Infrastructure and Transportation Committee. Former County of Maui Economic Development Specialist, 1999–2002. Former Maui Field Representative for Senators Daniel Akaka and Mazie Hirono. Top vote-getter of all council candidates in the primary, and the only Maui County candidate to receive public campaign funding.

Website: Yukileisugimura.com

Lana‘i

Riki Hokama

A council member from 1999-2009 and 2011-2021. Hokama entered politics as a delegate to the 1978 Hawaiʻi State Constitutional Convention. Revised term limits, as interpreted by the county clerk, allow him to run for an eleventh term. 

Website: Rikihokama.com

Gabe Johnson

First-term incumbent. Chairs Affordable Housing Committee. Farmer and former ESL and Japanese language teacher at Lāhainā Intermediate School. Only challenger to unseat an incumbent councilmember (Hokama) in Nov. 2020. 

Website: Gabe4council.com

Molokai

John Pele

Property manager at Paniolo Hale and co-owner of Hiro’s Ohana Grill. Fifteen-year veteran employee of Molokai Ranch, serving in various management roles. Molokai Planning Commissioner 2017-2022.

Website: Johnpele.com

Keani Rawlins-Fernandez

Incumbent. Vice chair of the current county council. Chairs Budget, Finance, and Economic Development Committee. Authored temporary hotel moratorium.

Website: Votekeani.com

Jacob Shafer

Welcome to VOTE

Welcome to VOTE

It’s not about how or for whom you vote. It’s about being informed—and participating.

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