Yagong seeks his old council seat

  • Yagong

Former County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong, who held the District 1 Hamakua seat for 12 years, said Tuesday he plans to run for the seat again.

Yagong, 60, was the District 1 council member for six years beginning in 1996, then sat out a two-year term, returning for six more years in 2006. He left the position in 2012 to run for mayor, coming in third behind former Mayor Billy Kenoi and current Mayor Harry Kim.

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Yagong has worked in property management since 2012, managing high-end condominium and resort properties in West Hawaii.

“My 12 years experience as County Council member allows me to make an impact on day one and continue the great work of outgoing council member Valerie Poindexter,” Yagong said. “We have challenging times ahead for our entire island and if given the opportunity, my past governmental and current business experience will allow me to hit the ground sprinting.”

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.

Yagong hasn’t pulled nomination papers yet, saying he plans to do so and then hold a large campaign kickoff event May 29.

Candidate filing ends June 2. The field for most races will be winnowed down in the Aug. 8 primary. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote in a county race, the top two contenders will face off in a runoff in the Nov. 3 general election. Elections will be conducted with mail-in ballots this year, extending the voting period.

Three other candidates, Heather Kimball, Bethany Morrison and Elroy Juan, have pulled nomination papers for the nonpartisan seat.

Juan is a former plantation worker who’s now an irrigation worker with the state Department of Agriculture. Morrison is a county planner with 12 years experience. Both are first-time candidates.

Kimball 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’s run unsuccessfully in the past two elections for state House and Senate.

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Hamakua Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter, who’s term-limited at the end of this year, said she “wholeheartedly” supports Yagong’s candidacy.

“He has the experience and will be able to hit the ground running,” Poindexter said. “Most importantly, he was born and raised in District 1 and understands the difference between diverse and culturally diverse, which is a critical component to successfully representing our people.”

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