Waimea’s Solomon snags new Big Island seat


Incumbent Democrat Malama Solomon defeated former Hawaii County Councilman Kelly Greenwell to secure the new, fourth state Senate seat Tuesday night.

“I take your vote very seriously because it’s an expression of trust — and I intend to honor that trust,” Solomon said. “I love this district.”

Solomon easily defeated Greenwell, getting 9,726 votes, or 67 percent, of the votes cast for the position. Green Party candidate Greenwell received 4,871 votes, or 33 percent. At his closest, Greenwell came within 29 percentage points of Solomon.

Solomon said she called Greenwell shortly after 10 p.m. to congratulate him on a well-fought campaign.

“He ran a good campaign,” she said, noting specifically that Greenwell did not waver on issues or stances throughout the season.

Solomon, who was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to fill the District 3 seat when Dwight Takamine went to work for the state in December 2010, will represent the new 4th District that encompasses North and South Kohala, Hamakua and portions of North Kona. It was created this year by the state Reapportionment Commission.

Though a new district, Solomon said she has an idea of the area’s issues, concerns and needs thanks to her prior terms in the state Senate between 1982 and 1998.

In the last term, Solomon introduced legislation to fast-track development of more geothermal energy, including measures Abercrombie signed. The measures will expedite expanding geothermal production here. Solomon also supported a proposed undersea cable to connect the islands.

Other items on which Solomon worked include funding for the Kona judiciary complex, work Hawaii Community College at Palamanui and funding for repairs and retrofitting at Big Island hospitals.

This term, Solomon said she will make it a priority to secure funding for the college and reducing the Big Island’s — if not the state’s — reliance on fossil fuel for energy.