Hawai’i County Council candidate James Weatherford of the newly drawn Puna Council District #4 has been certified for full public funding by the State Campaign Spending Commission.
After gathering the signatures, $5 contributions and early support of 200 registered voters from the district, Weatherford’s campaign was cleared to receive full public funding in the amount of $16,300.00 for the primary race to be decided August 11, 2012.
“This is something important for me that I always share with the people I talk with,” said Weatherford. “The combination of public funding and my non-partisan status makes me independent — from special interest campaign contributors and from political parties. An independent voice is something that Puna needs and has not had for a long time.”
One of the main benefits of public election funding is that candidates can focus on the concerns of voters in the district. Dubbed “the reform that makes all reforms possible” by proponents like Voter-Owned Hawai’i, who successfully lobbied the legislature to enact the program in 2009, the public funding pilot for Hawai’i County Council is in its second of three election cycles. With his qualification for the program, Weatherford’s campaign will be fully-funded for the primary August 11th from the Hawai’i Election Campaign Fund. Revenue for the special fund comes from the voluntary contributions of state income tax payers and the fines paid by violators of campaign spending law.
As a publicly-funded candidate, Weatherford says he “will not accept any private campaign dollars from special interests based on-Island, in Honolulu or beyond.”
Weatherford’s opponent, one-term incumbent Fred Blas, is not using public funding. Typical privately financed campaigns rely on contributions from individuals, businesses and political action committees, either from within or outside the islands, who may each give up to $2000.00 a piece total, as permitted by law, for the the primary and general elections.