Deadline to mail in your ballot is now – Here is a complete statewide list of endorsed candidates

The deadline to mail in your ballot so it arrives by Saturday August 13 is NOW. Better yet, to make sure it gets there on time, it’s probably best to drive it down to the drop box.

Please share this list with friends and family TODAY. The only way to win is to vote. If you don’t believe me read: Who Controls Government in Hawaii?

Kai Kahele – Governor
Kai Kahele is the best choice to be our next Governor.
For background and for those that are curious read: Why I’m supporting Kai Kahele over Josh Green. (https://garyhooser.blog/2022/06/03/why-im-supporting-kai-kahele-over-josh-green/)
Why are 3 of the most influential champions of our natural environment supporting him? Read what Marti Townsend, David Kimo Frankel, and Kau’i Pratt-Aquino have to say.

Keith Amemiya – Lieutenant Governor
Read: I’ve finally come to a decision on the lieutenant governor’s race and it’s Keith Amemiya.

Sergio Alcubilla for Congress CD1
The Sergio Alcubilla Campaign for Congress has just received multiple full-throated endorsements from: The Hawai’i State Teachers Association (HSTA) Hawaiʻi teachers union drops endorsement of U.S. Rep. Ed Case in favor of Sergio Alcubilla(Hawai’i Public Radio), AND the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), and the Hawai’i Ports Maritime Council – with more to come! For further background read: Why Choose Sergio Alcubilla Over Ed Case?

Jill Tokuda – Congress CD2
Jill Tokuda is a solid Democrat with the experience we need now in Washington DC. I’ve known and worked with Jill Tokuda for years. She will serve us well.

Senator Laura Acasio – State Senate District #1
Hawai’i Island – Hilo, Pepeekeo, Papaikou, Hilo, Keaukaha, Kaumana
Senator Acasio is totally awesome. She is smart, articulate, courageous, and values-driven. We need to keep Senator Laura Acasio in the Senate. Please help her if you can.

Walter Ritte – State Senate District #7
Maui – Ha‘ikū, Hāna, Kaupō, Kīpahulu, Nahiku, Pā‘ia, Moloka’i, Lāna‘i, Makawao, Pukalani, Kula, Ulupalakua
Walter Ritte is a legend. His election to the Hawai’i State Senate would change the very nature of the way they do business, and our Public Trust Resources would sleep much better at night, knowing that Walter Ritte, a true warrior, was protecting them.

Ian Ross – State Senate District #11
Mānoa, Makiki, Punchbowl, Papakōlea
Ian Ross is that proverbial “young emerging leader” that is ready, willing, and capable of representing his community and all of our communities in the Senate. I have to say that I know and like his opponent former Senator Carol Fukunaga as well. But there is a time to set aside the old guard and bring in the new – and now is just such a time.

State House of Representatives

The election of a just single individual candidate such as Kim Coco Iwamoto would have a hugely positive impact on the institution as we know it today. Read: Why Kim Coco Iwamoto over Scott Saiki?

I’ve written before about the incredible Natalia Hussey-Burdick – Read: We should all be so lucky as the residents of Kailua are today.

There are many shining lights running for election, incumbents and challengers alike that need our support.

There are newcomers like Sam Peralta and Kathy Feldman who are stepping up to challenge entrenched DINO incumbents. We are fortunate to also have Jeanne Kapela and Amy Perruso who as sitting Representatives now, are both fearless in their support of protecting our natural environment, the rights of working men and women, and the underserved 99%.

There’s too much to say about all of those listed below to fit in a single email. I encourage you to check them out, do your homework, and vote TODAY!

House District 3 – Shannon Matson
Panaʻewa, Keaʻau, Orchidland, Hawaiian Acres, Kurtistown, Mountain View

House District 5 – Jeanne Kapela
North Kona, South Kona, West Ka’u

House District 9 – Sam Peralta
Kahului Maui

House District 11 – Terez Amato
South Maui

House District 13 – Mahina Poepoe
Haiku, Ko’olau, Hana, Kaupo, Kipahulu, Paia, Lanai, Moloka’i

House District 14 – Elle Cochran
West Maui

House District 19 – Kathy Feldman
Hahaʻione, Kuliʻouʻou, Niu Valley, ʻĀina Haina, Kahalo, Waiʻalae

House District 22 – Dale Kobayashi
Manoa, University, Moiliili

House District 24 – Adrian Tam
Waikiki, McCully, Moiliili

House District 25 – Kim Coco Iwamoto
Ala Moana, Kaka’ako, Downtown

House District 26 – Valerie Wang
Makiki, Makiki Heights, Papakōlea, Punchbowl, Tantalus

House District 27 – Gary Gill
Alewa Heights, Nuuanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Papakolea, Punchbowl

House District 30 – Sonny Ganaden
Kalihi Kai, Pearl Harbor, Hickam

House District 39 – Corey Rosenlee
Ewa, Waipahu, Kunia, Ho’opili, Waikele

House District 42 – Makana Paris
ʻEwa, Kapolei, Villages of Kapolei, ʻEwa Villages, Kaupeʻa, Kanehili Homesteads, Hoʻopili

House District 46 – Amy Perruso
Wahiawā, Whitmore Village, Launani Valley

House District 50 – Natalia Hussey-Burdick
Kailua, Kāne’ohe, Marine Corps Base Hawai’i

The collective power of these individuals running for the State House is sufficient to change the very culture of the Hawaiʻi legislature. My hope is that it goes from a toxic fear-based environment to one that fosters creativity, collaboration, and inclusiveness.

Council races in every County are posted here: On Kauai, I’m supporting Fern Holland and Addison Bulosan. A special shout-out also to Kelly King for Mayor of Maui and to Ikaika Hussey who is running for the Honolulu City Council District 6. We need Ikaika to win. When he wins, we all win. Trust me on this.  Kaua`i friend interested in my Kaua`i voting strategy read this.

Forward this list to your friends and neighbors.

Let’s do this. We have only until Saturday.

Imua!
Gary L. Hooser http://www.garyhooser.com

*OHA – While I believe all of us should cast an informed vote in the OHA races I am not making any personal endorsements at this time.  Please consult with people you know in the community who are most directly impacted by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

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Kim Coco Iwamoto over Scott Saiki

Without question Kim Coco Iwamoto is the best choice over Scott Saiki. I’ve known and worked closely with her for years, and likewise I’ve known and worked with her opponent Speaker of the House Scott Saiki for about the same time period.

Saiki has been in office 28 years too long. Though he is burying residents in the district with mailers claiming great accomplishments, the truth is things are much worse off today than they were yesterday.  Despite his positive claims, there is more homelessness, more crime, and more government corruption today than ever.

Both legal and illegal government corruption are at the highest levels ever and Scott Saiki has done little to nothing to reverse the tide, not prior to legislators being arrested for bribery and not after. He formed a Commission to look into it and make recommendations but has taken no significant tangible action at all.

He could have proposed and supported banning all fundraising during the legislative session. He could have proposed limits to the unilateral power of Committee Chairs. He could have suggested that legislative committees stop meeting in private and instead comply with the State constitution and discuss committee decisions only in public. 

He could have done lots of things that should have been done a long, long, time ago, but he didn’t. And if history is our teacher, we know he won’t.  

He has had 28 years to make a difference and it’s time now for new energy, new ideas, and a new Representative for Honolulu District 25.

Kim Coco Iwamoto is eminently qualified to serve.  Like many of us, she is appalled at the depth of corruption in our government and she is committed to pushing back against the old ways of “going along to get along”.  Kim Coco is smart, articulate, and fearless.

Without question, electing Kim Coco Iwamoto to the Hawaiʻi State House of Representatives will in an of itself change the very character of that institution for the better.

Of this I have no doubt.

In the primary election two years ago on August 8th, 2020 Kim Coco Iwamoto fell just 167 votes short of victory.

We need to push hard to get out the vote and push Kim Coco Iwamoto over the top this time.  Saiki is shoveling money at his campaign, sending out mailer after mailer, and he has the backing of major SuperPac’s who are also investing heavily in him.

If you live in District #25 Ala Moana, Kaka’ako, and Downtown – please vote for Kim Coco Iwamoto.  Then, after you cast your vote, go next door and talk to your neighbor and encourage them to do the same. Please also share this email with friends and family who live in the district.

If like me you do not live in the district, please reach out to friends and acquaintances you know that live in that area.

When Kim Coco wins, all of Hawaiʻi will win.

Let’s do this.

Sincerely,
Gary Hooser
Former Hawaiʻi State Senator

P.S. To read more as to why Kim Coco Iwamoto is the best choice read this piece from my blog: “I’m not pulling any punches on this one – Why Iwamoto over Saiki”

See a full statewide list of all endorsed State candidates and endorsed County candidates.

Disclosure: No candidate has authorized or approved this message. All costs of which there are none…associated with this message are paid for by me personally.

 

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Lieutenant Governor – it’s time to come clean

I’m as sick and tired of this conversation as anyone. We should be talking about the future and solving the many challenges facing our community, not asking an elected official seeking higher office to do the bare minimum that any other state employee with a suspected conflict of interest would be asked to do.

Until I finally watched the 25 minute video of their joint press conference, my hope was that we could just move on past this negative stuff. I’m oh-so-tired of it. 

It’s impossible to now set aside my own personal responsibility to support their effort in getting to the truth of the matter. 

Kai Kahele and Vicky Cayetano are honorable people who have looked at the facts available to them, determined there is reason for alarm and a need for clarity. They are asking the lieutenant governor to tell the public the full truth about his outside financial interests. They are also asking the news media to dig deeper and report on what is really going on.

This is a reasonable and legitimate request and if there’s nothing to hide, why would Green not comply?

By continuing to refuse disclosure, Josh Green only fuels the fires of suspicion.

Lieutenant Governor Josh Green should publicly and fully disclose the source of his income that is funneled through Green Health International LLC, and answer the other questions raised by Congessman Kai Kahele and former First Lady Vicky Cayetano. 

According to public records, in addition to his annual lieutenant governor salary of $160,000, Green Health International LLC and other health related entities have paid the L.G. between $600,000 and $1,000,000 since he has held that seat. 

He’s getting paid to be a full-time lieutenant governor, yet he also has earned between $150,000 and $250,000 per year providing medical services like fixing a child’s dislocated shoulder?

Somehow I don’t think so.

No doctor earns $150,000 to $250,000 per year working part-time on weekends fixing dislocated shoulders.

According to salary.com – “The average Physician General Practitioner salary in Hawaii is $228,590 as of June 28, 2022, but the range typically falls between $197,990 and $255,690.”

Because he refuses to disclose who’s paying him through his Limited Liability Corporation, Green Health International LLC – we can only speculate as to what’s really going on.

The principals of Green Health International LLC. are listed as Joshua Green and his wife Jaime Green. The corporation also lists former Hawaii State Insurance Commissioner Jeffrey Schmidt as its “agent”. 

Schmidt, was hired by Green as a “Senior Advisor” in the L.G.’s office while he was also acting as Green Health International LLC’s agent.

The State Ethics Code, which applies to all state employees states, “Do not solicit or enter into substantial financial transactions with anyone you supervise or regulate as a state employee.” Teachers, janitors, and highway workers have to follow the State ethics code, shouldn’t the LG too?

Schmidt worked in the L.G.’s office as a paid employee of the State, at the same time he was working as Green Health Internationals’s agent, AND he was (and still is) the CEO and a Principal at Abaris Global (April 2016 to present). Abaris Global is based in Denver Colorado and according to its website provides expertise on regulatory and corporate governance, Blockchain & Insurance, Regulation & Compliance – cryptocurrency and related matters. Schmidt also is the agent for Ola Like LLC which is located at the same address as Green Health International.

One question of course leads to another. It appears the L.G. also owned another health company of which little is known. A public records search reveals a Seva Natural Medicine Limited Liability Partnership located at 75-169 Hualala Rd, Ste 301, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740, Incorporated 20 August 2014 and Involuntarily Canceled. Officers: Everett, Melanie, general partner, 20 Aug 2014-Green, Josh, general partner, 20 Aug 2014- and Joshua Green, agent.

So as you can see, the request for full disclosure is a reasonable one. Please. Take the time and watch the video. But I warn you that if you do, you won’t be able to unlearn what it teaches you. 

The lieutenant governor should fully disclose in writing as soon as possible, so voters can make an informed decision.

Where is the Green Health International LLC. money coming from? If the income is from hospitals and physician service organizations for which he is providing medical services, then information to substantiate that needs to be made public. If the income is from something else, the public needs to know that as well.

The public deserves an answer. Watch the video and decide for yourself.

Gary Hooser
Former Hawaiʻi State Senator
Note: If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, at least watch the clip starting at 9:02 in the video.

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Carry water, take the fall – politics in the House

Interesting that the StarAdv throws Della Belatti under the bus while praising Scott Saiki. The Speaker of the House. Scott Saiki gives the order to take down State Auditor Les Kondo, the Majority Leader Della Belatti follows the order and pulls the trigger. Then she gets blamed and takes the fall when things go awry. I should praise the wisdom of StarAdv but unfortunately they only went half way! Congratulations Valerie Wang!

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Kaua`i County Council Election – by the numbers.

There are 19 candidates now in the race for election to serve on the Kaua`i County Council. On August 13 that list will be whittled down to the top 14 vote-getters. Then on November 4th, the final top 7 will go on to serve Kaua`i County for the next 2 years.

Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro and Council Vice Chair Mason Chock are both “termed out” and unable by law to run for re-election.

While there are 2 bonafide “openings”, all 7 seats are up for election.

To recap the way the voting works in the Council race, each registered voter “may cast up to 7 votes” and all seats are elected “at large” (all Kaua`i is a single district).

To throw newbies a curve ball, insiders often utilize a voting method referred to as “plunking” where the voter casts less than the full 7 votes they are permitted.

For example imagine candidate X. Let’s imagine for a moment that candidate X’s dear mother marked her ballot obviously in support of her child, and then proceeded to vote for 6 other candidates which she is entitled to do.

Let’s further imagine candidate X’s family is clustered around the radio listening to Ron Wiley on KONG (all day long) who announces that candidate X lost the election by a single vote. In essence, dear ole mom’s vote for another candidate is the vote that caused the defeat.

Needless to say, the mothers and fathers, and brothers and sisters and close friends of Council candidates – will often only cast a single vote, forgoing the other 6 they are entitled to.

Other critically important numbers are #5, #6, #7, #8, and #9 – and maybe #10.

At the end of the night on August 13th, the top 14 candidates proceed to the general election, but history says it’s really only the top 10 who have a hope of winning in November. So at the conclusion of the primary, candidates in slots #8, #9, and #10 will be fighting to move up and those in slots #5, #6, and #7 will be fighting to hold on. Those in the top 4 slots will likely just cruise to victory.

So who’s positioned to win?

First and foremost, a winning candidate must be on the voters radar. Voters will choose candidates they are familiar with, who they trust, and who they believe share common values.

The ability to raise campaign funds is important, as is the willingness and interest of the candidate to “run a real campaign” – putting up signs and banners, holding signs along the highway, canvassing door-to-door, etc.

Campaigns cost money. To ensure that at least 13,964 voters (the minimum winning number in 2020) vote for you, is a formidable task that costs money and takes work, lot’s of work.

One way to rank candidates and judge viability is to review their Campaign Spending Reports.

If a candidate has not yet filed a report, either they are breaking the rules or they intend to spend zero money on their campaign. While low-budget campaigns can win, zero-budget campaigns cannot.

Here is the full breakdown of the money numbers in ascending order – effective Monday, July 25 as per their campaign spending reports. An asterisk indicates an incumbent. Reports can be found by entering the candidate’s name in “View Reports” at: https://csc.hawaii.gov/CFSPublic/menu/

James Langtad – no records found, Lila Metzger – no records found, Shirley Simbre-Medeiros – no current report found, Jeffrey Lindner $-1,481.67, Rosemarie Jauch $-1,273.83, Melvin Rapozo $-1,011.40, Rachel Secretario $0, *Bill DeCosta $26, Nelson Mukai $269.88, Roy Saito $437.01, Jacquelyn Nelson $730.47, *Luke Evslin $1,046.71, Felicia Cowden $1,769.07, Clint Yago Sr. $2,580.00, Fern Holland $2,920.41,*Bernard Carvalho $5,864.65, Addison Bulosan $9,030.75, Ross Kagawa $10,211.54, and *KipuKai Kualii $26,304.34

So how do I determine who I’m voting for?

I certainly am not going to vote for someone I don’t know about or have never heard of except for the fact that their name is on the ballot.

My personal experience with the individual and/or observing them in action either while on the Council or in the community is what’s most important. If I am unfamiliar with them, I will read their campaign brochure, review their website and social media postings, and ask others in the community about them.

I only vote for candidates who are serious about winning. Are they running a real campaign? Are they working hard out in the community to earn my vote?

If they are elected, “Will they be the person they say they are?” Will they hold fast to the values they espouse on the campaign trail when they’re actually called to vote on the tough sometimes controversial issues?

At the end of the day, we collectively are responsible for our government’s leadership. We choose our leaders, and we should take the time to do it right.

Gary Hooser
***Many are asking who I am voting for in the Council and other races on the Kaua`i Ballot – Here is the answer.

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Three Strong Environmental Leaders Weigh In on Who Should Be The Next Hawaiʻi Governor

Below are three statements on Kai Kahele from three of the most influential environmental advocates in all Hawai’i.

Marti Townsend is a Honolulu environmental attorney, the former director of the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi, and now working at Earth Justice. Read Marti’s thoughtful, well-reasoned, and from the heart – 6 reasons why I’m supporting Kai Kahele. by Marti Townsend

David Kimo Frankel is a former director of the Sierra Club of Hawai’i and a former attorney at Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. Read: “These three instances of Kahele in action are why I’m voting for Kahele for governor. by David Kimo Frankel”

Kau’i Pratt-Aquino is an advocate and community leader, founder, and principal attorney at Pratt Law Hawai‘i, LLC. She was formerly with the Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture, Access to Justice Working Group, and ’Ahahui o Hawai’i. Read: “My direct personal experience working with Kahele on community issues that are important to us all as kanaka maoli, allies and as regular working-class people…” by Kau’i Pratt-Aquino

Please take the time to read these three powerful statements, then share them with friends and family.

My hope is that they will give you a better idea as to the depth of Kai Kahele’s commitment to our natural environment and to our community as a whole.

Sincerely,
Gary Hooser
http://www.garyhooser.com

PS. In case you missed it here are my personal thoughts: Why I’m supporting Kai Kahele over Josh Green.

Note: This email and these statements are being published and sent without the authorization or approval of any candidate.

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Guest post by Marti Townsend – 6 reasons I’m supporting Kai Kahele

Aloha ʻOhana,

So the campaign ads finally got on my last nerve, and I am compelled to write out some of the reasons I am voting for Kai Kahele for Governor. I sent an email with my reasons (typos and all) to my family and friends. After much pestering they got me to refine that email into a series of posts for a more general audience, as a way to allow for more conversation as people grapple with who to vote for this year. That said I reserve the right to be junk at engaging on social media. This is really not a substitute for real conversation. I hope we get a chance to actually talk more about politics soon.

As always, if you share my sentiments justifying a vote for Kahele as Governor, then please tell your friends and family. You can donate to the campaign of course, but more than money what he needs are the really valuable votes that each of us will cast… in the privacy of our own homes or the voting booth.

And regardless who wins the seat for Governor, it is crucial that each of us engages regularly with the new Governor to ensure their administration does everything possible to protect the best interests of the people of Hawaiʻi. It is on each of us to hold the next Governor accountable, no matter who it is.

Why I am voting for Kai Kahele for Governor, reason #1: Kai is not owned by the corporate elite

Because of the warped political system we live under, the best indicator of what kind of elected official a candidate will be is who their donors are. These are the entities that the candidate will be accountable to once elected. These are the people they will not disappoint when things get tough.

Kai Kaheleʻs supporters are just regular people. I have been to his campaign events. There are no political operatives there. The only lobbyists are the public interest ones, like I used to be. Everyone is a volunteer. It is truly grassroots. People like us are the ones Kai would be accountable to once he is elected.

This is a stark comparison to LG Greenʻs campaign. It is not that LG Green is evil. It is that he is surrounded and supported by some of the most wealthy and powerful people in our islands. Please take a moment to look at the campaign donations the Green campaign has received.

It is wealthy out-of-state real estate moguls, big pharma, defense contractors, and people who are under investigation for political bribery. This is a huge red flag. This is who will have the greatest influence on who is appointed to key positions in a Green Administration. This is who he will have a hard time disappointing when things get tough. And that is scary to me. If LG Green is elected, I hope he proves me wrong on this.

By contrast, Kai Kahele already disappointed the Big Five, when he chose the community in East Maui over A&B. Kai already disappointed the defense contractors when he introduced the Leandra Wai bill to Congress seeking the return of Makua Valley from the Army, and when he somehow managed to get the whole congressional delegation to publicly support shutdown of Red Hill – something they were adamantly against 2014-2020 (after the previous major leak).

Remember: Kai Kahele signed the Our Hawaiʻi Pledge against the outsized influence of the wealthy and the powerful in our elections. LG Green has not (but he still can – it would begin to demonstrate his independence from these very questionable corporate influences). People should really check out https://our-hawaii.org to find out how they can support candidates trying to run truly independent campaigns. If you hate the way we do politics here with all the retribution and bullying, then this might be the place for you. And if you are so moved to support them, as I was, please sign the pledge yourself and make a donation. Organized people are more powerful than organized money, every time.

Why I am voting for Kai Kahele, reason #2: Red Hill

I spent the better part of the last 7 years trying to get the Red Hill fuel tanks drained to save our water. We were not successful and our water is now contaminated, probably permanently. After such a catastrophe, of course every politician comes out in support of draining the Red Hill fuel tanks. To understand where elected leaders really are, I think it is important to look at what lawmakers were doing 2014-2021, the time between the two recent major leaks of fuel from Red Hill.

In 2018, as chair of the Water and Land Committee in the Senate, Sen. Kahele took a huge risk advancing a state bill that would have greatly increased oversight and protection for our water from the Red Hill fuel tanks. This was the farthest any substantive bill on Red Hill got in the legislative process, prior to the 2022 session. Sen. Kahele again employed his superior political acumen to convince the Senate to pass out the bill. Which was huge considering he had to convince people like the now-retired senator from Waipahu and chair of the military affairs committee at the time, who had the nerve to tell me that he would not stick his neck out on Red Hill because it did not affect his district. 🤯 Of course the safety of abundant freshwater on Oʻahu affects his district!

For then-Sen. Kahele, it did not matter that Red Hill truly did not affect his district. It did not matter that this was not his committee. It didnʻt matter that this bill challenged the military in Hawaiʻi (and the many wealthy defense contractors and Chamber of Commerce types that like to use their money to leverage politicians). Protecting Oʻahuʻs water supply was a no-brainer for Kai.

Unfortunately, this bill did not become law thanks to Speaker Scott Saiki in the House (thatʻs a post for another time). But I think this story demonstrates the kind of elected official Kai Kahele is.

Now I have seen the political ads for LG Green on Red Hill. It is misleading in at least two ways. First, LG Green was not a leader on Red Hill prior to 2021 water crisis. LG Green was a senator and then Lt. Governor from 2014 to 2021, and he did not meet with community advocates on Red Hill during that time, that I know of, though I asked more than once. I think he probably signed one letter regarding Red Hill, one that nearly all Senators signed against the Administrative Order on Consent when it was being signed in 2015.

But I did not see him take any leadership role on this issue in either position during this time period. And you know what: this fact is true of most of our elected officials. I can count on one hand the number of elected officials at the state and federal levels (aka: those in a position to do something at the time) who were strong advocates for the shutdown of Red Hill prior to the contamination of our drinking water.

Second, the ad is also very misleading because it makes people think the water crisis is solved. The Red Hill tanks are NOT shut down. The tanks are not empty. The water is still contaminated and residents are still finding oil sheens on their tap water. There is still a 30% chance of another leak every year, and we are shockingly unprepared for it. This problem is not remotely solved! I feel like LG Green’s ad on Red Hill plays directly into the Navy’s “nothing to see her, maʻam” narrative that seeks to quell community outrage over the harm we have suffered.

I donʻt know why LG Green feels compelled to stretch the truth when he has such a comfortable lead in the polls. But this really raises red flags for the fate of truth in a Green Administration. I am glad that Dr. Green visited with some of the families that were directly affected by the water crisis in 2021. That was a good and important thing to do. And he did join every other elected official who has since cleaned up their position on Red Hill after all those people were severely injured by the Navyʻs negligence. I am working hard to accept the support of the late-comers to this issue – despite the resentment some of us may feel, it is genuinely a good thing that lawmakers now feel their own strength to hold the Navy accountable for their abuse of us and our environment.

Why I am voting for Kai Kahele, reason #3: Kai is not easily intimidated by powerful corporate interests.

In the course of lobbying lawmakers over the last so many years on so many different issues, I had an opportunity to understand how some lawmakers operate, what motivates their decisions. As a Senator and a Congressman, I can say without hesitation that I could always count on Kai Kahele to be on the right side of issues. Didnʻt matter if it was Red Hill or taro-feeding streams or clean energy… whatever the issue was, whatever district it affected, whatever high mukamukas it challenged – it didnʻt matter– Kai advocated for the best interests of the public. I did not have to convince him once of the right thing to do; he just knew, and he went above and beyond every time.

Because Kai Kahele is always willing to defend Hawaiʻi and take on the powers-that-be, the Alexander & Baldwins, the Chamber of Commerce types, the big banks, the outside developers, anyone who tries to exploit Hawaiʻi’s natural and cultural resources, I am always willing to stand up for him. He had our back in some pretty epic battles at the Capitol, so I am speaking up now to show that I have his back. And I hope that everyone who cheered on those recent, historic victories, everyone who benefits from more water in the streams, and less corporate influence over our politics will do the same.

Why I am voting for Kai Kahele, reason #4: Kai has superior diplomacy and persuasion skills.

Kai Kahele has a special skill for negotiating complicated, entrenched issues and brokering a fair path forward. He wasnʻt always successful, but he always tried and was successful more times than not. I saw this on the East Maui streams issue. In 2015, the Senate voted to allow Alexander & Baldwin to continue taking water as it shut down its plantation and laid off its workers, and despite powerful testimony from farming families desperate to see their streams flow again. This is when the now-retired Senator from Maui told me that the ultimate waste of water was when it flowed in a stream and out into the ocean (as nature intended). 🤯

By 2018, then-Senator Kahele was able to persuade his colleagues to vote for the protection of the streams against A&Bʻs sideways attempt to continue diverting millions of gallons of water every day that it did not use (and pocket $62 million from its deal with Mahi Pono). Preventing this very bad bill from passing allowed the Water Commission to complete its evaluation on how much water was needed for what, and they ultimately decided to restore the majority of streams in the taro-farming communities of East Maui. There is still much work to be done to fully implement that decision, but we are already seeing taro farming, native stream ecosystems, and healthy communities rebounding in East Maui, as a result. This was a very big deal.

Kai has had a relatively short political career. But in that time he has redefined what is possible in local politics.

Why I am voting for Kai Kahele, reason #5: Military leases

Because of the Red Hill water crisis, Hawaiʻi is entering a new phase in our relationship with the military. We have to think about who we want to represent our interests as that new relationship is brokered. Is it better to have a candidate with experience in the military, proven political acumen, and an unwavering commitment to our natural resources? Or a candidate with zero military experience, a complicated relationship with the truth, and a stated commitment to always value national security (there are two that fit this description). I canʻt believe I still have to say this, but: there is no amount of national security that is worth our islandʻs water supply.

Things are very precarious with Red Hill right now. The Navy is engaging in the same tactics of delay, distraction, and confusion that they employed after the 2014 fuel leak from Red Hill, and frankly every other place they have destroyed in the name of national security – Kahoʻolawe, Kwajalein, Vieques, Albuquerque, Camp Lejune, the list is inhumanely long. Make no mistake that the next administration will have a significant role in deciding what happens with Red Hill. That, plus climate change, is why this year’s election is so important.

Why I am voting for Kai Kahele, reason #6: He is Hawaiian.

As a settler (someone without a genealogical connection to Hawaiʻi) committed to confronting the horrible fall-out of the U.S.-backed overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893, I support Hawaiians every chance I get. And I hope other settlers can do the same. Here is my logic:

As a white settler brought to these islands by the U.S. military occupation, I feel an obligation to work really hard to reverse the harms of that occupation. This plays out in many ways for me. Relevant to making choices about who leads Hawaiʻi, this means when all things are otherwise equal, I support Hawaiians vying for a leadership role. This is not to say I am voting for Kai just because he is Hawaiian. I would not vote for a woman, just because she is female. To get my support, a candidate has to be high quality. But when the candidates line up in most ways, and Hawaiian ancestry is a distinguishing factor, then I vote for the Hawaiian.

I took this position in the confirmation of a new intermediate court judge recently and was criticized by my liberal friends. Those uncomfortable conversations revealed a lot of subterranean racism in Hawaiʻi’s environmental community. In that situation, the governor had appointed the only white male on a list of candidates that included several, very highly qualified, and progressive-minded Native Hawaiian women. It seemed wrong to me that settlers should be appointing leaders who are recent settlers when there are equally (and I would argue far more) qualified candidates who are from backgrounds typically iced out of positions of power in Hawaiʻi, and who have also dedicated their lives to serving the community that raised them. I saw that judicial appointment as a huge opportunity to make amends for the current consequences of Hawaiʻi’s long history with racism.

And, I see a similar opportunity in this choice for the Democratic Nominee for Governor. Comparing the 3 leading candidates side-by-side on the issues, it is clear that LG Green and Congressman Kahele basically agree on the big ideas. Candidate Cayetano is far too comfortable with handing off basic government services to private companies, and has herself never made a decision affecting the quality of my life, so I am not ready to put her in charge of the state. But, LG Green is “good enough” on the core issues I care about. Generally speaking he supports protecting public health, and the environment, and protecting our individual rights to privacy and agency over our own bodies. So does Congressman Kahele. And in some ways, Kai is a far more fervent and effective defender of these core issues, especially when it comes to the military’s presence here.

In addition, I also look around to see who else is in charge in Hawaiʻi. What other key leadership positions at the local, state, and federal levels are filled by Native Hawaiians? How many mayors, members of Congress, county councils, the House and the Senate are Native Hawaiian? Not the majority; not even half. There are plenty of settlers of every ilk in positions of power throughout Hawaiʻi, but not that many Hawaiians.

Native Hawaiians – the descendants of those who cultivated a highly functional, stable society in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for hundreds of years before contact with Caucasians – deserve many seats at all of the tables where our futures are mapped out. While we debate why it is that more Hawaiians are not in more positions of power, I am going to use my vote to counter that trend every time.

For me, this is about setting right a historic wrong, as much as it is about advancing Democratic ideals in Hawaiʻi.

What I consider to be dumb reasons to not vote for Kai Kahele:

Rumors. You heard he did this or that? And so what? What evidence is there? What effect does it have on your life? It is disgraceful that people base their votes in idle rumors about personal choices. Rumors are one of the tools of patriarchy to keep us locked in.

Hawaiian Airlines sweetheart deal. Really?! Kai has a side job flying local families where they need to go and back home again. No different than LG Green having a side job providing personalized medical services to those that can afford a home visit from a politically well-connected doctor – although we do not know who those clients are. And no different than the majority of lawmakers in Hawaiʻi — this is by design, and we can debate if this is a good design… but generally speaking, a standard paycheck given in exchange for honest work done is not controversial. It is certainly not worse than the millions amassed in political contributions in exchange for we donʻt know what promises.

He quit Congress. I actually think this is an asset, and demonstrates good judgment. As soon as he confirmed Congress is a hot bucket of snakes, he got himself the hell out of there. Good on him. And this happens all the time — politicians commonly quit and run when the opportunity arises. People voting on that basis are not being honest with themselves.

Fumbled public financing. Mistakes happen because politicians are human. What really matters is how the politician manages when things do not go smoothly, which happens so often. I feel like Kai Kahele has managed this mistake very well. He did not abandon his principles or his commitment to running a campaign independent of major donor influence. He did not abandon us, the regular voter with only a few dollars to share. Instead he doubled down on his commitment. He is still only accepting donations of $100 per person and is asking his supporters to help reach new supporters because each vote is more important than any dollar. I think it speaks well of him that he did not falter from his principles and commitments at such a difficult time.

Guest Post by
Marti Townsend
Environmental attorney in Honolulu. The former director of the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi, now working at Earth Justice

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Guest post by community leader and environmental advocate Kau’i Pratt-Aquino – Why I’m Supporting Kai Kahele

Ballots are arriving. I ask all my friends and family to please vote Kai Kahele for governor in the primary election.

My support is based on my direct personal experience working with Kahele on community issues that are important to us all as kanaka maoli, allies and as regular working-class people. If you support Kai, please encourage your families to vote for him.

He is the person we have been waiting for. I do not say that lightly. Is he perfect? No! But who the heck is?

My experience:
The photo below was taken after our historic win against Alexander and Baldwin, a corporation that has a dark history of corporate water theft in Hawai’i. Their theft has been detrimental to Native Hawaiian communities.

I recall standing on A&B’s doorstep with my mom in 2016 begging them to release the water (after the legislature gave it to them) so our Kupuna could grow kalo to eat and continue their traditional life styles (as outlined in our state constitution). It was a memory I never want to experience in my life again. This experience shaped my life for the next years.

Fast forward to 2019. The take down of A&B was the direct result of Kahele’s courageous leadership in the Senate at a time when no one wanted to stand up to this corporation because how entrenched A&B was in the system.

He did it by calling them out and by bringing together a diverse group of people at a time when other state leaders were trying to destroy his efforts. He delivered the leadership we so desperately needed and we delivered the people. His diplomacy and knowledge were unmatched compared to others.

His leadership demonstrated how we could deliver change in a short time by having strong leadership from the ground up.

He has been on the front line of Red Hill when others did not want to take the lead on this, including Green who has made a false statement in his recent political ad that I find concerning. Green stated he “shutdown” red hill. Red Hill is not shutdown. This statement is a slap in the face to organizations, state leaders (i.e. Ernie Lau) and organizers who have been at it for years.
Kahele called for the return of Makua Valley. He is aloha ‘āina.

Kahele is not the democratic establishment’s choice, Josh Green is. CONTEXT is important so that you can understand the world around you and the information being delivered to you by the media.

While I like and respect Green, he is not my first choice. I respect Green’s work in the pandemic. I choose Kahele based on my values and my community work.

My hope is that whoever wins will have the grace and respect for choice and not use it as a way to retaliate but as an opportunity to build consensus. This is democracy.

In more recent weeks, I have found most upsetting is that there has been an active effort to destroy Kahele not on any real basis.

My mana’o: FIGHT CLEAN.

I am here to defend Kahele and let you know from my personal experience, he works until the wheels fall off LITERALLY-NON STOP.

I believe Kahele has the capacity and strength to bring forth the change that Hawai’i so desperately needs.
His commitment to the people is unbreakable. It is our turn to give back and vote for him.

Guest post by;
Kau’i Pratt-Aquino
Advocate and Community Leader
Founder and principal attorney at Pratt Law Hawai‘i, LLC.
Formerly with Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture, Access to Justice Working Group,’Ahahui o Hawai’i

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I’m voting Fern Holland and Addison Bulosan for Kauaʻi County Council

Many Kauaʻi friends have been asking about the County Council race.

For the Primary Election, I’m supporting challengers Fern Anuenue Holland and Addison Bulosan.

While all 7 seats are up for election, two incumbents (Kaneshiro and Chock) are “terming out” – I believe both Fern Holland and Addison Bulosan are excellent choices to fill those two slots.

I’ve decided to cast only 2 votes in the Primary.

I will no doubt vote for incumbents in the General Election, but my Primary Election focus (pun intended) is to strongly support both Fern and Addison in their quest to represent all of us on the Council. It is important that both finish in the top 7 on August 13th.

Hence my decision to cast only two votes in the primary.

Incumbent Councilmembers already have the advantage of strong name recognition and should be judged by voters on their public performance over the past two years, and in the next few months leading up to the General Election.

I’ve worked extensively with Fern and know her well. She is smart, does her homework, and is a tireless community advocate who cares deeply about our island. There is no question that Fern Anuenue Holland will be at the table for all of us, working hard to protect our island and improve our quality of life.

Addison is a successful small business owner who knows the importance of building bridges. In an effort to get to know him better, I have met and spoken at length with him on numerous occasions over the past few months. Our conversations have been far-ranging and included public policy topics of substance. I have come away from these conversations confident that when elected, he will serve us well.

For now anyway, I will leave it at that – Fern Anuenue Holland and Addison Bulosan.

Please join me in supporting them both.

Gary Hooser

Note: For those interested in the process and criteria read: Which candidates should be supported?

Note2: For those interested in my choice for Governor and Lieutenant Governor read:

Why I’m supporting Kai Kahele over Josh Green.

I’ve finally come to a decision on the Hawaii Lieutenant Governors’ race.

Note3: As to the OHA races, I am not making any recommendations and encourage all to discuss these votes with members of the community most directly impacted by issues relating to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Note4: I am voting for Jill Tokuda for Congress CD2

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Ground Zero – Primary Election Ballots Are Arriving!

Heads up #1 – Primary Election ballots are already arriving at homes on Oahu with neighbor-island mailings to follow shortly.

To see exactly what your ballot will look like ahead of time, to track your ballot once you have returned it in the mail and/or to register to vote online go to https://elections.hawaii.gov.

Positive change can happen, but only if we collectively take the time to take ownership of our government. Read – Who Controls Government in Hawaiʻi?

Scroll down to review a list of all endorsed candidates – including a new announcement concerning the Lieutenant Governor’s race.

Heads up #2 – I’m honored to be a featured speaker and ask that you register in advance and join me via Zoom on Friday, July 22 at 6pm for a virtual fundraiser in support of Maui candidates: Walter Ritte – State Senate, Mahina Poepoe – State House, and Keani Rawlins-Fernandez – Maui Council.

To find out “the why” on some of the key endorsements read:

Why I’m Supporting Kai Kahele Over Josh Green.

Why Sergio Alcubilla Over Ed Case.

Sergio Alcubilla for CD2 – The Little Engine That Could

Why it’s so important to elect Kim Coco Iwamoto, Walter Ritte, and Laura Acasio. Read – I’m Not Pulling Any Punches Today

We All Should Be So Lucky As The Residents Of Kailua Are Today – with Natalia Hussey-Burdick being on their ballot.

Just a glance at the website of Honolulu Council District 6 Candidate Ikaika Hussey says it all. Ikaika is of the people, by the people, and for the people – All Hawaiʻi will be well served by the election of Ikaika Hussey.

Why Kathy Feldman for the State House? Read: Telling Stories – GMO, Pesticides, and the Hawaiʻi Kai Connection – a brief look at what motivated this hard-working, community-based, ardent supporter of the environment, to challenge the incumbent.

Heads up #3 – Many Kauaʻi friends have been asking about the County Council race. My focus at the moment is on supporting only challengers Fern Anuenue Holland and Addison Bulosan. Two incumbents (Kaneshiro and Chock) are “terming out” – and I believe both Holland and Bulosan are excellent choices to fill those two slots. Additional Council endorsements will be announced in the coming weeks.

And yes, Heads up #4I’ve Finally Come To a Decision On The Lieutenant Governors Race (and yes I’m making you click through to the Hooser blog to discover who it is) 😉

Here is a list of Congressional, Gubernatorial, and State Legislative Endorsed Candidates and a separate list of County Endorsed Candidates (all Counties) supported by the Pono Hawaiʻi Initiative , of which I am the Executive Director. And here is the basic criteria used in determining – Which Candidates Should Be Supported?

There are many good candidates running across the State. In the coming weeks, I’ll be doing my best to highlight them all.

But please, don’t just take my word for it. Do your homework, study the candidates in your district, call or email them directly, and then cast an informed vote.

Sincerely,
Gary Hooser http://www.garyhooser.com

*I mention “the why” above. Read about the “why not” in today’s The Civil Beat Hawaii Lawmakers Took In The Cash This Session Despite Pleas To Ban Fundraising During Session

Note: No candidate has authorized or approved this stuff. No one pays me to write it. I’m not looking for a job nor for any political favors other than they look out for people and the planet.

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