In a close race, Brenda Ford defeated challenger Maile David to represent the revamped Council District 6, which spans from South Kona to east Puna.
Ford earned 3,186 votes, 163 more votes than David’s 3,023, or 51 percent to David’s 49 percent.
“I’m already working for the people of my current district and the new District 6,” Ford said Tuesday evening. “I promise I will work very, very hard in the district.”
Ford has served three terms on the council, although in District 7, which previously covered central and South Kona. David, a paralegal, has worked for the County Council as a legislative aide for several years. Ford grabbed an early lead of roughly 200 votes when the first results were released.
She said she is “never confident” when she runs for office, although she has now won four elections in a row. This will be her last term on the county council, because of term limits.
She describes herself as the council’s workhorse, drafting and submitting more legislation each session than many of her colleagues.
She thanked her supporters for their votes.
Ford said she was seeking re-election, in part, to be able to see the completion of several projects already in the works, or on the way. She noted her work to push along a design for a South Kona Police Station.
One of her proudest moments, Ford said at one council candidate forum, was her role in suing the state over a redistricting plan she believed was illegal.
That lawsuit a decade ago helped the 2011 Redistricting Commission take a fair approach to redrawing district boundary lines and gave the Puna District the second council member it should have had as of 2002, she said.
David, who described herself as a lifelong Big Island resident and who included her maiden name, Medeiros, in many of her campaign materials, said she chose to seek election to give back to her community.
She said she would like to see the county open more land for agriculture.
David touched on the perceived divides between council members in East and West Hawaii, saying the council should not be reminding island residents of an inequities between districts. Tax revenues should be shared equally across the island and recent, large West Hawaii projects have made up for unequal distribution of the county’s revenues in the past, she added.
She said she opposed furloughing county employees, and supported a one-time, across-the-board assessment on all property owners to collect the money needed to balance the budget.