Lee Loy, Ohara nab remaining E. Hawaii council seats

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Sue Lee Loy and Eileen Ohara cruised to victory in races for two open Hawaii County Council seats Tuesday evening.

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Sue Lee Loy and Eileen Ohara cruised to victory in races for two open Hawaii County Council seats Tuesday evening.

In District 3, Lee Loy was leading Moana Kelii with 4,333 votes, or 59.45 percent, with all precincts reporting.

Kelii received 2,955 votes, or 40.54 percent.

Lee Loy, a planning consultant, said she was overwhelmed.

“I’m just so excited,” she said, while holding back tears, “to really serve the community that I grew up in.”

Lee Loy will take over next month from Councilman Dennis “Fresh” Onishi, who is term-limited. He endorsed her in the race and Lee Loy thanked him for his “incredible” support.

The district includes the Waiakea area of Hilo and Keaau town.

Kelii is a union agent with the Hawaii Government Employees Association.

In District 4, covering lower Puna, Ohara was leading with 3,349 votes, or 54.2 percent, also with all precincts reporting.

Madie Greene, a former business owner who sits on several community organization boards, received 2,828 votes, or 45.78 percent.

“I just want to thank everyone,” said Ohara, who teaches economics at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

“I had a tremendous outpouring of support from all kinds of people. It’s been very uplifting.”

But she added it was difficult for her to celebrate with Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential race.

“It’s hard to just pop the champagne and celebrate when you have this backdrop,” Ohara said.

Ohara will replace council member Greggor Ilagan, who unsuccessfully ran for the state Senate in the primary.

She said some of her priorities include building a second police station for Puna, a wastewater treatment facility for Pahoa and an alternative route to Highway 130.

Ohara previously worked as the county’s recycling coordinator, a county planner, executive director of Recycle Hawaii and business development specialist for Pacific Biodiesel.

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She also owns Dakini Enterprises, which grows organic tomatoes and cut-flower orchids.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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