Dustin Barca is a professional surfer turned activist, and is currently running for mayor of Kaua’i as an independent party. The MMA fighter, environmental activist, father and Kaua’i Boy attended Hanalei School and Kapaʻa High School. Now, he is fighting for his ‘ohana – his family, the people of Hawai’i.
“I was so lucky to grow up on Kauaʻi, learning from my elders about our sacred and unique ʻaina (land, “that which feeds us”),” Barca said. “When I returned home from a traveling surf career, I started becoming aware of the issues our island is facing, and how they are compromising the health of our community and land. It’s time to move in a different direction, we can’t let things continue as they are.”
Barca first discovered his dissatisfaction with the management of the island after listening to current mayor, Bernard Carvalho Jr, give his re-election speech. He recognized that the majority of Carvalho’s supporters included big chemical corporations that were negatively impacting their community. Therefore, Barca decided to advocate for the people of Kaua’i and take a stand against many communal issues that the island may face.
Barca is basing his political stance not on a specific party, but on four pillars that concern the community of Kauai. The first being a desperate need to restore Hawaiian culture, many of the ruins, burial grounds, and monumental travel spots on the island that need protection from the community. Tourism is a huge profit on the island and restoring these historical sites would be an important factor in Kaua’i’s cultural restoration.
The second pillar relies on sustainable agriculture. According to Barca, 90% of the islands food is imported, which he considers unacceptable. His plan of action includes reconnecting farmers to the land and producing a self-sufficient community. He also proposes planting cash crops that are beneficial to the island’s soil to advance growth.
His third pillar is restoring damaged waterways and streams. Due to previous poor agricultural techniques, the depletion of the waterways compromised many of the island’s marine life and the ocean’s ecosystems. The integration of GMO field run off water is also responsible for damaging a large portion of Kaua’i’s reefs.
Additionally, Dustin Barca is prepared to fight for a change that will protect the islands reefs. Listen to this interview with Dustin Barca regarding his stance on GMOs made by Defend Hawaii:
Dustin Barca’s final pillar contributes to reintegrating recovering drug addicts into society through rehabilitation programs. Barca believes that reconnecting people with their community and nature by providing them with responsibilities is an excellent way to assist them in the healing process.
Dustin Barca’s signature platform tag line on his website barca4mayor states, “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.”
Dustin Barca’s campaigning techniques include connecting with his community by participating in a 90-mile run and swim across the island of Kaua’i. This fundraising event is his attempt to try to better understand the wants and needs of the people, while paying his respects to the island.
For more information on Dustin Barca’s campaign and how to support, visit: www.barca4mayor.com