Maui County’s next group of council members is scheduled to get sworn in on Monday, and there’s already a proposal for what sorts of issues they’ll focus on in the years to come — and who will lead those committees.

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Next week, the new council members are scheduled to take office, including two newcomers: Tom Cook, who won the South Maui seat, and Nohe Uʻu-Hodgins, who won the district of Makawao-Haiku-Paia. The council’s inauguration is scheduled for Jan. 2 at 10 a.m. in Council Chambers and is open to the public, according to a news release.

A photograph of the county building in Wailuku.
Maui County’s new mayor and council members are scheduled to be sworn in Monday. Marina Riker/Civil Beat/2022

Later that day is when the new members are scheduled to decide who they want to serve as council chair and lead various council committees, which steer the county’s direction and new laws made on issues ranging from housing to water to vetting the mayor’s proposed annual budget.

There’s already a proposal for possible leaders of those seven committees, according to county documents.

In the tentative plan, council member Yuki Lei Sugimura of Upcountry is tapped to serve as the chair of Budget, Finance, and Economic Development Committee, with council member Tasha Kama of Kahului as vice chair. That committee is charged with vetting the mayor’s annual budget and deciding how taxpayer dollars are spent.

West Maui’s council member Tamara Paltin is proposed to chair the Disaster, Resilience, International Affairs, and Planning Committee, with Uʻu-Hodgins serving as vice chair. Meanwhile, Uʻu-Hodgins is planned to chair the Government Relations, Ethics, and Transparency Committee, with Paltin as vice chair.

East Maui council member Shane Sinenci is tapped to chair the Human Concerns, Oiwi Resources, and Parks Committee, and council member Keani Rawlins-Fernandez of Molokai is proposed as vice chair.

Kama is also posed to chair the Land Use and Housing Committee with Cook, the incoming South Maui council member, as vice chair. Cook is also proposed to chair the Water and Infrastructure Committee, with Sugimura as vice chair.

Council member Gabe Johnson of Lanai is proposed to chair the Transportation, Environment and Agriculture Committee, alongside Sinenci as vice chair.

The new council is scheduled to discuss the committees — and the makeup of the people in charge of them — during Monday’s organizational meeting.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by grants from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation and the Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation.

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