Incumbent endorses Democrat to take Puna seat
Volunteer community worker Luana Jones, 50, has filed to run for the state House of Representatives from District 4 (Puna), a seat now held by Democrat Helene Hale.
Hale, 88, the oldest member of the Legislature, who has served in elective posts in Hawaii since 1954, will not seek re-election and has endorsed Jones, who is a Democrat.
The daughter of Waikiki beachboy Wilfred "Wipeout" Yee, Jones grew up on the beach at Waikiki and is still an avid surfer, she said. She is a 1973 graduate of Kamehameha Schools.
Married to metal building contractor Richard Jones, she is the mother of four children plus several hanai children.
From the time the couple arrived on the Big Island in 1982, Jones has worked with numerous programs at Pahoa High and Intermediate School.
Her current activities involve mentoring programs, creating a shoreline maintenance program among students and working with "cultural immersion" programs at area schools.
Jones also wants to seek solutions to transportation problems in the district and to preserve agricultural lands.
Candidate eyes Tantalus
Della Au Belatti, an attorney with the state Senate Majority Research office and a former member of the Campaign Spending Commission, is running for the state House in the 25th District, Tantalus and Makiki.
Au served on the Campaign Spending Commission from 1996 to 2003, when it launched some of its major investigations into campaign corruption.
Au, 32, who had been a teacher at Maryknoll High School, said serving on the commission caused her to become more interested in the law. She graduated from the University of Hawaii law school in 2003.
"The Makiki district has many of the issues of urban living, a lack of community feeling and environmental issues, plus affordable housing," Au said.
State Rep. Brian Schatz, the incumbent, is running for the 2nd Congressional District and will not seek re-election.