BOE incumbents
on way to general

Name recognition is key

By Craig Gima

All of the incumbents were on their way to the general election as voters narrowed their choices for the state Board of Education.

In the Oahu at-large race, board members Karen Knudsen, Shannon Ajifu and Keith Sakata were the top vote-getters. They were followed by attorney Randall Yee, the Rev. Marla Wade and Kenneth Segawa. The top six finishers out of 10 candidates will be on the ballot in the general election.

In the race for the open Leeward Oahu seat, Aiea Neighborhood Board member Shirley Ann Robinson and community volunteer Grace Dixon were headed to a runoff in the general election.

Former Rep. Terrance Tom and attorney Laura Thielen will face off for the Windward Oahu seat.

"It's an important race but there are too many people," said Thielen. She said she understood why voters can have a difficult time choosing a candidate.

"It's an islandwide race, but we're not running for mayor or governor," said Tom. Both candidates said it is difficult to get their message out without spending a lot of money.

Some voters said it was hard to get information on the candidates.

"Every year, it's sort of like I don't really know," said Hilkka Easterwood, who said she studied what she could to make an informed decision on the race.

"We don't know these guys," said Jose Deloen, who said he voted for one candidate because he was his lawyer.


Waiting for results:
Name recognition key

By Craig Gima

In a race where not voting is usually the most popular selection, name recognition is what many Board of Education candidates were counting on to win yesterday.

"The Board of Education is all name recognition, because you don't get a chance to talk to the public much," said union organizer James Kuroiwa Jr., who was losing early last night in the Windward Oahu race to two familiar names -- former state Rep. Terrance Tom and Laura Thielen, the daughter of Rep. Cynthia Thielen.

The Board of Education race is designed so that the 13-member board will have representatives from each of the school districts -- Kauai, Maui, Hawaii, Windward Oahu, Leeward Oahu, Central Oahu and Hono- lulu. The other six candidates run in what are called the Oahu at-large seats.

The only two candidates for the Maui seat -- attorney Mary Cochran and Kelly King, both automatically advance to the general election.

There will be a special election for two other seats in November because of resignations of Leeward Oahu member Marilyn Harris and Oahu at-large member Donna Ikeda .

Breene Harimoto, a city official appointed to Leeward Oahu member Harris' seat by Gov. Ben Cayetano, is running for the remaining two years of the term against Karen James, a former teacher who runs a computer resale business. In the Oahu at-large race, Garrett Toguchi, a former school board member who was also appointed to the board by Cayetano, is running against Shannon Wood, publisher of an on-line newspaper and co-owner of a multimedia business.

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