By COLIN M. STEWART
Tribune-Herald Staff Writer
Sitting Councilwoman Brenda Ford won by a narrow margin Tuesday in her bid to serve a fourth and final term on the Hawaii County Council representing Kona, Ka‘u and Volcano.
Meanwhile, newcomer Margaret Wille defeated Oliver “Sonny” Shimaoka to represent North and South Kohala’s District 9.
With all precincts being counted, Ford received 3,186 votes, or 48 percent, to Maile “Medeiros” David’s 3,023, or 45.6 percent.
“I’m just deeply honored that the people of District 6 chose me to represent them,” Ford said. “I will work very, very hard for them, and I want to thank each and every one of them for their hard work during the campaign.”
She added that she was disturbed by a series of election snafus on Oahu that resulted in several precincts having to remain open late after apparently running out of ballots.
“We’ve been watching on TV, and I gotta tell you this mess in Honolulu with not enough ballots, that’s a great concern,” she said. “They’ve got big problems over there, I think.”
Ford campaigned in District 6 after she was drawn out of the map for her current District 7. A Captain Cook resident, she has highlighted jobs as her top priority. Ford says she wishes to continue sponsoring a number of capital improvement projects aimed at getting construction projects going in her district.
Maile “Medeiros” David, a legal specialist for the County’s Legislative Research Branch in the West Hawaii Civic Center, is a third-generation Kona resident, with a self-professed “love and respect for our people, our land and cultures.” During her campaign, she targeted jobs and agricultural sustainability as important issues for her district.
Meanwhile, District 9 will welcome newcomer Wille to the council after she defeated Shimaoka with 3,447 votes, or 47.3 percent, to his 3,023 votes, or 45.6 percent.
Wille said she hadn’t learned yet of her win when a reporter called, and she was excited, but also unsure if it was real.
“This has been amazing,” she said. “This district, I consider it really extraordinary. Its people’s talents and resources and spirit. There’s so much ability here. … We’re going to work together in partnership.”
Wille said issues like Hawaiian home rule and education would be priorities for her.
“I’m also very much a proponent of open and transparent government,” she said. “Decisions should not be made behind closed doors.”
Her opponent, Shimaoka, is pastor of New Hope Waimea Christian Fellowship. His bid centered on an attempt to cut down on a perceived gridlock on the council. A proponent of geothermal energy, he envisions it not only solving the island’s energy needs, but becoming and important source of revenue for the county. He also supports pursing the possibility of a waste-to-energy plant to address the island’s solid waste.
Email Colin M. Stewart at email@example.com.