David Tarnas currently serves as the representative of House District 8, which includes all of North and South Kohala Districts and the communities of Niuli‘i, Hawi, Kapa‘au, Kawaihae, Waimea, Waiki‘i, and Waikoloa.
For the 2023 legislative session, Rep. Tarnas serves as the Chair of the Hawai'i State House Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs. As Chair, Rep. Tarnas works to pass legislation that upholds the State's judicial standards and advances the status of the Native Hawaiian people and culture. He previously served as the Chair of the House Committee on Water and Land, where he passed legislation critical to the environmental sustainability of Hawai'i.
Returning to the State House after twenty years, Rep. Tarnas was elected in 2018 and now is in his third term as a returning State Representative, previously having served as the State Representative for Kohala and Kona from 1994-1998. He has lived in the district for over 36 years.
Rep. Tarnas and his wife, Carolyn Stewart, raised two children in Waimea, one of whom is currently a public health graduate student and the other is a planetary scientist working in the private space industry. Rep. Tarnas is a professional environmental planner with a local firm that he and his wife Carolyn formed to provide community planning, natural resource management, watershed management planning, impact analysis, permitting, compliance monitoring, reporting, government and community relations. For more than two decades, Rep. Tarnas has worked as a planning consultant and meeting facilitator on projects in Hawai'i to develop harbors, highways, farms, ranches, fishponds, and forest plantations, as well as scientific research facilities and renewable energy projects.
Rep. Tarnas is co-author of the Hawai'i Ocean Resources Management Plan (1990), co-founding board member of Malama Kai Foundation, former UH Sea Grant Extension Agent for West Hawai'i, and author of Act 306, the 1998 law which created the West Hawai'i Regional Fishery Management Area. Over his career, Rep. Tarnas has served in the past as a member of the Hawai'i County Agriculture Advisory Commission, member of the Community Advisory Group for the U.S. Army Garrison - Hawai'i Pōhakuloa Training Area, and as Hawai'i County Chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawai'i; and is currently a member of the Waikoloa Community Leadership Council and Waimea Community Association.