HILO — Surrounded by a small but vocal crowd of supporters yelling out a paddler’s cheer, Heather Kimball on Friday launched her campaign for the open County Council District 1 seat.
District 1 runs across the northern part of the island starting at the Wailuku River near Wainaku and continuing through Honokaa, taking in part of Waimea and ending at the Honokea Stream. The council seat is currently held by Valerie Poindexter, who’s term-limited.
Kimball, 47, holds a master’s degree in environmental science and owns a consulting firm focused on land management, carbon mitigation and climate change adaption policy. She said her technical training, and personal and professional experience will bring the necessary knowledge and skills to the County Council to help create proactive and long-lasting solutions to the increasingly complex challenges facing the island.
If elected, she wants to tackle the county’s waste management problem by producing less of it. The county code needs to be scrutinized to see where its requirements are wasteful — for example requiring paper copies when digital ones will do, she said.
She especially wants to get rid of “silos” in county departments, where lack of communication reduces efficiency and increases costs.
“Everybody is in silos. I think we could be more effective and efficient if we do these things together,” she said.
She and her husband, an architect, have lived in Papaikou with their children for more than 15 years.
Kimball has two decades of public- and private-sector experience in research, teaching and leadership positions. She holds a B.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Environmental Science. She is also a certified facilitator and a licensed private pilot.
Kimball serves on the county Board of Appeals, and she’s county chairwoman of the Democratic Party.
Last year, she ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Democratic state Sen. Lorraine Inouye. In 2016, she was unsuccessful against incumbent Democratic state Rep. Mark Nakashima. Both those races taught her valuable lessons, she said.
Her goals for Hawaii County are based on economic fairness and opportunity, access to county facilities and services, and environmental sustainability with the understanding that these can be achieved only by first meeting the basic needs of our community, including social justice, employment opportunities, affordable housing, access to health care, and adequately funded public safety and infrastructure programs.
She lists among her community involvement and volunteer work: paddling coach and board member for Kamehameha Canoe Club, advocacy chair for the Zonta Club, and a member of the Sierra Club of Hawaii State Chapter Executive and Climate Change Committees. She served as treasurer for the Hilo Intermediate Band Boosters, as the student representative on the UH Hilo Graduate Council and as president of Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science Graduate Club.
Kimball was the co-founder of Take Back Lincoln Park and a coordinator for Make Voting Matter. She was vice chair of the Hawaii National Women’s Political Caucus.