Tim Richards Endorsement by Patti Cook
I support Dr. Tim Richards because he’s smart, respectful, and rooted – connected to the community and the land. A veterinarian and scientist, he understands consequences. He resists thinking in silos and has dirt under his nails – aka is a for-real rancher who deeply understands agriculture and its needs and challenges. He and his wife have live-wire 6-year-old twins who keep him ever focused on the future. He returns calls, follows up, invests time and thought in building relationships, asks hard questions, and answers them too. He is always willing to do the serious heavy lifting – whether it’s treating sick wild horses in Waip’o Valley, relocating terrified livestock in the midst of a Puna eruption, helping sustain affordable interisland barge service, exploring how to shift to “green” energy for county buses, personally opening county P&R facilities due to manpower shortages, finding $10M for long-stalled essential infrastructure such as Waikoloa intersection, helping to bring home millions from the State Legislature for emergency relief, and thinking out of the box to address solid waste in ways that are environmentally and fiscally responsible.
Dr. Tim Richards doesn’t ignore hard issues, nor does he kick the can down the road. He takes them head-on and does the hard work to find solutions. He has the intelligence, relationships, and passion to make a difference for all of us.
Dr. Tim Richard’s COVID-response project, called BRIDGES, is “classic” Dr. Tim – a significant win-win for which he hasn’t gotten much recognition. Nor is that why he did it. Here’s the scoop: When COVID hit, Dr. Tim understood the “need” was two-fold: Feeding thousands of desperate residents, and also keeping our farms and ranches alive – not forced to close for lack of cash flow. He partnered with several local foundations and the county to raise $200,000 to donate to the non-profit Farm Bureau. They use the funds to purchase and process fresh local beef, pork, and poultry, cheese, and fresh local fruit and vegetables. Farmers and ranchers receive essential compensation to sustain their struggling operations, which lost their regular income when the visitor industry shut down.
Concurrently, the fresh meat and produce effectively rescued The Food Basket, which was slammed by exploding demand for food literally in every community across the island. They especially needed protein because it’s so expensive and because COVID outbreaks on the mainland interrupted the food chain. Meat became very hard to get – and even more expensive. The Food Basket was the perfect partner for BRIDGES because it’s an experienced, fiscally prudent non-profit with food handling expertise, facilities, and equipment including trucks. They also have long-standing ties to community groups and organizations all around the island to assist with reliable distribution.
BRIDGES has become an essential contributor to the food stream that’s helping ensure that thousands of residents all around the island – from Puna to Kona, Kohala and Waimea to Ka’u – are able to take home a substantial box of food for the month ahead. It’s also keeping many farms and ranches going.
Mahalo, Patti Cook