Athlete and activist Dustin Barca launched his campaign for Kauai mayor today. From his statement:
Professional surfer, environmental activist, father, MMA fighter and Kaua’i Boy Dustin Barca announced today that he will seek the office of Kaua`i County Mayor in the 2014 elections. As part of his run for Mayor, Barca will paddle and run around the entire island of Kaua’i from May 29-June 1, paying tribute to and connecting with the people, ‘aina (land, “that which feeds us”) and cultural sites of the island.
While this is Barca’s first bid at political office, he has been involved in local politics for much of his young adult life. Driven by a strong sense of kuleana (responsibility and privilege) to Kaua`i and its people, he sees local government as a way to deepen his service:
“I was so lucky to grow up on Kaua`i, learning from my elders about our sacred and unique ‘aina. The purpose of the run is to bring to life our vision, our dream of what our island should be and can be. We can be a blue print for the rest of the islands and the world by restoring and protecting our heiau, fishponds, iwi kupuna, our ahupua’a and agricultural lands. A way for our people and especially the next generations to have a connection with our island, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually by using these areas for educational purposes and managing tourism so that we will become the ultimate place for locals and visitors. We can be a farming epicenter where food production is our number one, reversing our 90% food import with 90% food production. It’s all about the future generations and our vision for Kaua‘i is for them.”
While Barca may be best known for his activism related to environmental justice and the impacts of the agrochemical industry on Kaua‘i, he is also passionately committed to democratic participation, local agricultural food production, access to healthy foods, cultural revival, protecting Kauai’s most vital water resources, sustainable energy and transportation, waste reduction, and better solutions to address crystal meth.
“We need innovative ideas, rooted in our historical and cultural knowledge, to ensure that our economy is delivering a high quality of life and not compromising the things we value. We need to bring tourism and development into alignment with the values and priorities of residents, ensuring that tourism serves Kaua’i instead of Kaua’i serving tourism.”
For Barca, this means moving towards greater economic self-reliance and regenerative agriculture especially; addressing land-use policies that have driven kama`aina families from their homes and blocked local access to important cultural and recreational areas; and developing new policies that limit growth while ensuring that dollars spent locally benefit local families. Barca emphasizes that the true wealth of Kaua’i lies in our water, land and people and that we are stewards of this `aina for many generations to come.
As a fundraiser and to bring awareness to his campaign, Barca will paddle from Ke’e to Polihale and then run around the island, from Polihale to Ke`e, from May 29 - June 1. He will stop along the way to pay tribute to some of our most historically significant areas, talk-story with community members and find out more about their concerns and visions for Kaua‘i. After completing his journey, a pa`ina will be held on Sunday, June 1, from 2-8pm in Hanalei.
More information on Dustin Barca’s historical run as well as his platform can be found online at www.Barca4Mayor.com