Office of Council Member Ashley L. Kierkiewicz
Aloha! Welcome to the official webpage for Council Member Ashley L. Kierkiewicz. Ashley is Hawai‘i Island born and raised. She was elected in 2018 to represent Council District 4, and is serving her first term. Ashley is focused on empowering community, leveraging public-private partnerships, and activating local economy so all residents can thrive.
Ashley chairs the Committee on Planning, and the Committee on Government Relations & Economic Development, and is the Hawai‘i County Council’s representative to the Hawai‘i State Association of Counties (HSAC).
Ashley has an open-door policy and takes a hands-on, boots-on-the-ground approach to her work on the Council. She is forming a Community Advisory Hui, made up of residents throughout District 4 as way to strengthen relationships with and between neighborhoods; the effort helps inform and drive policy decisions and solutions.
Rounding out the Council District 4 team are Chasity Quihano (Council Aide) and Christine Kahikina (Legislative Assistant). The trio are humbled to be working directly with constituents to revitalize Puna, and our island, with vision and vitality.
To schedule a meeting with Council Member Kierkiewicz, please contact Chasity at Chasity.Quihano@hawaiicounty.gov or (808) 961-8026.
The 2018 eruption forever changed the Puna community and landscape. Council Member Kierkiewicz recognized Puna had incredible needs and challenges prior to the lava flow, but has always maintained a positive, resilient outlook, choosing to see opportunities to reimagine community and emerge stronger.
Ashley was one of two Council Members tasked with leading advocacy for lava recovery funds at the Hawai‘i State Legislature. She and Council Member Sue Lee Loy were instrumental in working with House and Senate leadership, their respective finance committees, as well as the Hawai‘i Island delegation to secure $60 million directly to the County to support Puna recovery.
The Council District 4 team spearheaded Activate Puna, a community revitalization and pono placemaking project that creates enriching and uplifting experiences. Between April and May 2019, we completed two large-scale murals in Lower Puna (Above & Beneath, and Puna Strong), hosted a community block party to celebrate Puna’s strength and resiliency one year after the start of the 2018 lava flow, and installed a HOPE FLAGS exhibit made up of 3,000+ flags illustrated by students and community from around Lower Puna.
Council District 4 accomplishments over the last nine months:
- Bill 9 (Ord. 19-8) – $250,000 matching appropriation for economic recovery plan for Puna
- Bill 10 (Ord. 19-10) – Appropriated matching funds to FEMA dollars to support $32 million worth of future road recovery projects in Puna
- Bill 12 (Ord. 19-22) – Directed $170,355 in private donations to be used to provide immediate relief and positive impact to community including road support for lava locked kipuka residents
- Bill 36 (Ord. 19-52) – $20 million subsidy from Hawai`i State Legislature to support Puna recovery
- Bill 37 (Ord. 19-40) – $40 million loan from Hawai`i State Legislature to be used as matching funds for federal grants focused on Puna recovery
- Bill 79 (Ord. 19-84) – Directed $9,245 in private donations to purchase inter- and cross-governmental collaboration software that manages projects and tracks spending related to lava recovery
- Allocated funds and participated in efforts to beautify the entrance to Pahoa (roundabout medians)
- Reso. 103-19 – Created three temporary positions to implement the Disaster Case Management Program, which will provide long-term case management services to those impacted by the 2018 lava flow
- Reso. 143-19 – Worked with Mayor Harry Kim to proclaim every fourth Wednesday in April as International Denim Day, encouraging all citizens of Hawai`i County to wear jeans as a symbol of protest against the societal myths and destructive behaviors that perpetuate sexual violence
- Amended 2019-2020 Hawai`i County Operating & Capital Improvement Project Budgets to include:
- Funding to kick-start a Hawai`i County Whistleblower Program, including support for an independent third-party hotline, a conduit position in the Legislative Auditor’s Office to review calls coming into the hotline and make recommendations for next steps, and seed money to contract out for potential investigations
- Funding for Fire Department: $21,000 for revolving fund effort that upgrades apparatus and brush trucks as needed on an annual basis, and additional $13,000 (on top of $8,000 budget) to purchase equipment for fire stations island wide
- Increased Contingency Relief Funds for each Council Member by $30,000 (for a total of $60,000) but a successful amendment by Council Member Sue Lee Loy increased CRF for each district to $100,000
- CIP - $100,00 request to support infrastructure, equipment and project requests for County park facilities utilized by Puna residents
- CIP - $2.5 million request to support Phase I development (design, engineering, EIS work) for Hawaiian Paradise Park Regional Park
- Sent more than 300+ letters of encouragement and congratulations to students graduating from high schools throughout Lower Puna
- Reso. 209-19 - Co-introduced a resolution with Council Member Lee Loy calling for Bank of America to resolve its outstanding $150 million mortgage loan committment to the people of Hawaii after the Hawai`i Fair Lending Coalition found discriminatory lending practices against people of Native Hawaiian and Filipino ancestry.
- Reso. 212-19 - Introduced a resolution to recognize every second Tuesday of August or October as National Night Out, a nationwide community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camraderie, with the goal of increasing public safety by improving crime, drug, and disaster preparedness awareness.
- Reso. 218-19 - Introduced a resolution strongly urging the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources to consult and working with Puna lawai`a, community members with familial and cultural ties to Puna, and the County of Hawai`i on planning and construction of a boat ramp in Puna.
- Reso. 219-19 - Introduced a resolution to establish a Hawai`i County Apiary Stakeholder Working Group to recommend updates to County ordinances to more accurately reflect local propagation and care of bees by backyard beekeepers and large-scale apiarists, to promote best management practices, and to encourage and foster the next generation of beekeepers.
- Reso. 271-19 - Authored and introduced the Interim Recovery Strategy for Hawai‘i County, which set foundational pieces for the recovery effort in place to foster a clear, objective decision-making process that defines how and when community and Council plug in, transparency around how monies are allocated, and project management and accountability. The goals and objectives of the strategies are based on conversations and interactions Council Member Kierkiewicz has had with the Puna community during her work at the Hub and term in office. The Council will vote to adopt this framework at its next meeting, Wednesday, Sept. 18. Email supporting testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org
Between December 2018 and June 2019, Council District 4 proudly awarded $15,000 to local organizations good work in our local community. Click here for a full list of awardees and projects.
For Fiscal Year 2019-2020, each Council Member has $100,000 to support community projects as well as help County agencies meet critical needs that weren’t allocated in the operating budget. Inspired by participatory budgeting and wanting to further collaborate with community to identify and address needs, Council District 4 will look to its Community Advisory Hui to help direct a portion of its CRF.
If you are interested in applying for Contingency Relief Funds, download our info sheet and nonprofit disclosure form; it includes a list of items needed to process your request. Please note that requests will only be considered once ALL required materials are submitted. Contact Christine Kahikina at (808) 961-8536 or Christine.Kahikina@hawaiicounty.gov with CRF related questions.
Article III of the Hawai`i County Charter notes “The legislative power of the county shall be vested in the county council. Its primary function shall be legislation and public policy formulation…” Council Member Kierkiewicz believes that developing good public policy takes time, thoughtful planning, and stakeholder engagement.
The Council District 4 Team is working on formulating meaningful legislation during the 2018-2020 term. Below is a sampling of our current legislative efforts.
- Interim Recovery Strategy to provide immediate and short-term relief support to communities of Puna and Volcano impacted by the 2018 eruption
- Finding ways to better align County budget with outcomes and existing plans such as the General Plan, Community Development Plans, Mass Transit Master Plan, etc.
- Comprehensive Recovery Strategy to support long-term recovery as a result of the 2018 eruption
- Working with the Administration to update the Hawai`i County Code, Chapter 7 (Civil Defense) to ensure a scalable framework is in place and trigger ready for future emergencies and natural disasters
- Working with Puna Neighborhood Watch groups and County departments to address the issue of squatters and abandoned/vacant homes and properties
- Assisting beekeeping industry to update the Hawai`i County Code to reflect what’s actually happening, to encourage best management practices, and nurture the next generation of beekeepers
- Developing creative financing solutions and updates to the Hawai`i County Code to support new/existing infrastructure in private subdivisions
- Supporting efforts of Vibrant Hawai`i as a lead ambassador for the public sector, helping to align public-private-social-community sectors within a collective action framework with the goal of reducing poverty and creating a vibrant, thriving Hawai`i Island
- Convening conversations around anti-litter campaigns to encourage personal responsibility around waste management and proper disposal
Beyond crafting sound policy, our office is dedicated to working directly with community groups and on-the-ground through a variety of engagement projects. In addition to Activate Puna, we are proud to be coordinating the following:
Tuesday, Oct. 1: National Night Out - Collaboration between Council Districts 3, 4, and 5 to honor and mahalo local police, fire fighters, and community emergency responders for their dedication and service, and to strengthen public-private partnerships and programs to increase public safety. If your group would like to get involved, please email Christine.Kahikina@hawaiicounty.gov Flyer coming soon!
October 2019: Activate Puna Movie on the Lawn - A free, family-friendly event. More details coming soon!
Taste of Puna: A curated culinary experience to support local farmers, shine a light on the art of butchery and fishing, identify niche farming opportunities, and spur conversations around a value-added product economy. Details forthcoming…
Impact Status Surveys - open now through August 4! The suite of surveys focus on household, community, and business needs and opportunities; responses help shape near- and long-term eruption recovery efforts. Ensure your mana`o is captured. Take the surveys today!
Consider attending these upcoming community events…
Saturday, July 27: Kīlauea Eruption Recovery SpeakOut 8:30am-4:00pm at Kea`au High School. This family-friendly, interactive and informative drop-in event will feature recovery process updates, a chance to share your mana`o, workshops on economic recovery and self-sufficiency, and more! More info here.
Tuesday, August 6: Special Puna CDP Action Committee Meeting, 5-7pm at Pāhoa Community Center. This is a special meeting focused on the eruption recovery process. The AC will be asked to review and recommend prioritization of recovery objections as they relate to recovery goals confirmed by the AC in May 2019.
Join in on our collective efforts around positivity and empowerment! Email Ashley at Ashley.Kierkiewicz@hawaiicounty.gov for more details or to find out how you can support various projects and events.
Here’s a roundup of Council District 4 in the news.
- 7/2 WHT - Council resolution seeks Bank of America cooperation on DHHL loans
- 7/10 WHT - Bank of America, State in dispute over $150M loan
- 7/12 WHT - Preparing for the 2020 Census: Online forms available for first time
- 7/21 HTH - Restoration of Highway 132 continues on schedule
- 6/4 BIVN - Hawaii County Whistleblower Program Discussed
- 6/6 HTH - County Council Approves Budget
- 6/10 HNN - Work begins to clear hardened lava from critical road in lower Puna
- 6/17 HNN - FEMA wants some eruption evacuees to return disaster assistance funds
- 6/18 HTH - Committee to receive update on county’s disaster relief efforts
- 6/20 HTH - Council briefed on administration’s eruption recovery efforts
- 5/3 HTH - Zonta, County Officials Commemorate Denim Day
- 5/4 BIN - Finding a Silver Lining: One-year Kilauea Update
- 5/7 BIVN - Big Block Party Coming to Pahoa on Saturday, May 11
- 5/7 HPD - Pahoa Beautification Project
- 5/8 HTH - State DOT helps county Mass Transit recoup $6.9M in federal grants
- 5/8 HTH - Community Comes Together for Pahoa Roundabout Beautification
- 5/9 BIN - HPD Officers Honored for Fight Against Drunk, Drugged Driving
- 5/9 HTH - Activate Puna Block Party is Saturday
- 5/11 BIN - Puna Coalition Holds Meeting Full of Hope
- 5/12 HTH - Puna Residents Reflect on Eruption, Future During Block Party
- 5/22 BIVN - Whistle Blower Program Added to County Budget
- 5/23 BIVN - Council Votes to Increase Contingency Relief Funding
- 5/23 HTH - Council adds $545,000 from fund balance reserves to proposed budget
- 4/10 BIVN - Officials Give Highway 132 Lava Recovery Update
- 4/10 HTH - Panel Postpones Measure for Rezoning of Waimea Property
- 4/12 HTH - Council Approves Lava Disaster Aid Measures
- 4/16 BIVN - $60M Kilauea Disaster Relief Bill To Be Signed Today
- 4/19 HTH - Council Members Criticize Civil Defense for Lack of Communication During Disasters
- 4/20 BIVN - Civil Defense Communication Criticized
- 4/21 WHT - Mass Transit Mismanagement Could Hurt Entire State’s Federal Funding
- 4/28 HSA - Slow Recovery from Kilauea devastation underway, but sadness lingers
- 4/28 BIVN - Highway 132 Recovery Discussed At Council
- 4/29 HSA - Pahoa Businesses Still Struggle While Creating New Attractions
- 3/1 BIN - Hawaii Officials Present Lava Recovery Update
- 3/13 BIVN - Lava-Locked Residents Testify at County Council
- 3/13 HTH - Several Permits for County Official’s Residence in Pepeekeo Approved 23 Years Later
- 3/14 HTH - Council Members Push Administration For Specifics
- 3/15 WHT - Holiday Inn Waiting 5 Years for Sign Approval
- 3/21 BIVN - Highway 132 Restoration Funding Bill To Go Before Council
- 3/28 BIVN - Positions for Disaster Case Management
- 3/29 HTH - Lava Aid Up for Final Vote
- 2/5 BIVN - Puna Council Members Question Benefit of Tax Increase
- 2/6 KITV - Talks of Raising GET Continue on Hawaii Island
- 2/8 BIVN - Kilauea Disaster Recovery Bill Advances, Half County Ask
- 2/13 BIVN - After Eruption, Future Puna Development Questioned
- 2/17 HTH - Council Members File Financial Disclosures
- 2/18 WHT - Public Hearing Set for General Excise Tax Hike
- 2/20 WHT - County Prepares for Foam Food Container Ban
- 2/22 BIVN - Eruption Disaster Donations Accepted, Use Specified
- 2/24 BIVN - Eruption Recovery Panel Discussion Held in Pahoa
- 2/25 WHT - FEMA Aid Could Top $177 Million
- 2/27 BIVN - Q&A at Puna Eruption Recovery Meeting
- 1/3 BIN - ARDA Donates $2,500 to Puna Relief Fund (Hawaii Chapter of the American Resort Development Association)
- 1/9 BIVN - Council Gets Eruption Recovery Priority List As FEMA Funds Allocated
- 1/10 HTH - Council Approves 1st Reading of Bills Appropriating Federal Recovery Funds
- 1/10 HTH - New County Public Works Director Confirmed
- 1/20 HTH - Council Mulls Entering No-Risk Lawsuit Over Opioids
- 1/28 BIVN - Puna Eruption Donations To Get Council Approval