Thursday, November 4, 2004

At least 1 Kauai
winner already
angling for mayor

The finish of the race for all seven at-large Kauai County Council seats was just the starting gun for the 2006 mayor's race.

Election 2004


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Only one Council seat changed hands Tuesday, with veteran Councilman Joe Munechika bumped off the panel by attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, the county's longtime sex crimes prosecutor.

But the real bellwether was the runaway win by JoAnn Yukimura, who finished more than 2,000 votes ahead of her competitors. Yukimura served six years as mayor before she was unseated in the 1994 Democratic primary.

Yukimura immediately put Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste on notice that unless he addresses critical issues on the island, such as the housing crisis and solid waste, she will run against him in 2006.

"My personal opinion is there is no point in challenging an incumbent who is doing a good job," Yukimura said yesterday. "But in all of the most important issues, the ball has been in the mayor's court for two years now, and he has not provided any leadership or direction."

Yukimura is not the only one eyeing Baptiste's office. Longtime Council Chairman Ron Kouchi, who stepped down from the Council to run for mayor two years ago, is expected to make a second try for the office.



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