Why I’m supporting Kai Kahele over Josh Green

Since coming out in strong support of Kai Kahele to be Hawaiʻi’s next governor, some have asked: Why Kai Kahele and not Josh Green?

If the answer to that question interests you, read on. Otherwise, go to the beach and enjoy your weekend!

While I do not know Vicky Cayetano, I have worked with both Josh Green and Kai Kahele and I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to determine – Through what lens do each of them look at the world?

From personal experience and from a basic review of the campaign websites of each, I believe that Kai Kahele is far more concerned than Josh Green about issues of campaign finance reform, protecting our public trust resources, agriculture, food sustainability, climate change, closing down Red Hill and reducing the over-all foot-print of the military in Hawaiʻi – All issues near and dear to my heart.

Green barely mentions these issues at all. Please read the websites of both Green and Kahele and see for yourself.

Both candidates acknowledge the dire situation that now exists concerning the lack of affordable housing.

The past very aggressive support of Green by the Pacific Resource Partnership (PRP) and Hawaiʻi Regional Council of Carpenters (the largest construction union in the state) is a barrier difficult for me to overcome.

In 2018 PRP and the Carpenters via their “Be Change Now” Super PAC invested over $1 million into ensuring Green’s win, positioning him to run for governor today. Civil Beat – Carpenters Union Makes Josh Green A Million Dollar Candidate For LG

No one spends $1 million without expecting something in return. At the minimum, they expect a friendly ear, an open door, and decisions in the future that lean their way.

And in fact, immediately after winning the Lieutenant Governors’ race, Green hired a top Carpenters Union insider to be his chief of staff.

Full disclosure: I made my bones in politics fighting against big development and have always erred on the side of environmental protection and the preservation of our public trust resources. My other bias is on getting money out of politics.

On both counts, Kai Kahele comes out on top.

I’ve been in the room and have seen him up close take on Alexander & Baldwin in defense of the water and people of East Maui. I’ve watched him more recently step up on the Red Hill issue. Without question, his strong voice and unrelenting persistence in support of the grassroots-led movement paved the way for the entire congressional delegation and Hawaii’s political establishment in general to follow.

On money in politics, Kahele’s mantra is “Hawaiʻi is not for sale” – not to the military, not to big land owners and developers, and certainly not to the moneyed political elite.

Kahele is accepting no more than $100 from any single donor.

Green is accepting $6,000 contributions, the maximum allowed by law.

Read the campaign spending commission reports (CSC) – enter candidate name in “view reports”, click on candidate name, and search “contributions”. See for yourself who is giving money to who.

The CSC reports will show the major donors to the Green campaign are:

A whole lot of rich people claiming to be “Not employed”

A whole lot of lobbyists, attorneys, bankers, and Bishop Street regulars

A whole lot of PACs and Corporations

A whole lot of people who don’t live here.

*Note: According to the CSC report, there are numerous people giving $3,000 – $6,000 to the Green campaign and claiming to be “Not Employed”. This, in my opinion, is a clear indication of the campaign’s lack of respect for the principle of full transparency.

The Kahele CSC report does not yet list contributions or contributors because his announcement for the governor’s race was made only recently.

But when the report is filed on July 14 (the next deadline for both candidates).

You will see Kahele’s major donors are:

A whole lot of regular local Hawaiʻi residents giving $100 or less.

My reasons for supporting Kai Kahele are based on my personal experience working with him and with hundreds of other politicians over the 16 years I’ve spent serving in elective office.

The bottom line for me is that I trust Kai Kahele. I believe his core values and the lens through which he looks at the world is aligned with my own.

I believe that he is by far the best choice to be Hawaiʻi’s next governor.

If you agree with me please make an online contribution of $100 or less, today. Let’s prove to the world that big money does not rule politics in Hawaiʻi.

Gary Hooser
Pono Hawaiʻi Initiative

PS: No, I’m not bothered nor concerned that during this past year Kahele voted mostly by proxy, attended meetings remotely, and spent much of his time here in Hawaiʻi. Given the state of the world, I think I would likely have done the same. The vast majority of meetings by legislatures everywhere have been conducted remotely over the past two years or so. In my opinion, most of our political leaders err on the opposite end of the spectrum spending too little time with their core constituencies, and too much time schmoozing with lobbyists and special interests.

PSS: Read Kahele’s statement on the military in Hawaiʻi. He is of course a commissioned officer in the U.S. Military but yet he says “The Military’s footprint and negative impact on our communities must begin to shrink.” He then goes on to pledge as governor to “ensure that Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility is fully de-fueled and decommissioned…” He pledges to fight for the return of Mākua Valley and recognizes the total injustice of $1 per year leases granted now to the military. He also restates his opposition to the HDR-H radar facility at PMRF on Kauaʻi’s west side.

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) www.hapahi.org I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - http://www.garyhooser.com/#four “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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7 Responses to Why I’m supporting Kai Kahele over Josh Green

  1. Peter gooch says:

    I am already behind Kahele, it was obvious in the debate that he is our man.
    I have happily donated the max allowable, and it is refreshing not to be hit on ever since for more and more donations.
    He gives hope for a better hawaii.

    • Anna Lindon Morris says:

      Kai Kahele’s desire to return Makua is noble, but I’m not sure I agree. The most arguably spectacular view in all of Hawai’i is when one swims a short way out from the beach to look back at the magnificent Makua Valley. It’s like stepping back to pre-contact times. As a person of Hawaiian blood, I see little evidence of quality land management by my fellow kanaka maoli. Unexploded ordnance aside, the threat of being blown up sadly is exactly what’s kept this ahupua’a visually pristine. Sure beats the ramshackle houses, abandoned cars and roaming animals typical of Hawaiian Home communities. Unless Kai has a super comprehensive, pro preservation, low environmental impact plan involving no development (and where would the water come from, anyway?), that would be a huge reason why I would NOT to vote for him, despite other positives. If there’s more info on Kahale’s vision for Makua, please share where I can access it.

      • garyhooser says:

        Maybe there is more on his website? Have you looked there? I’ve gotta think just about anything is better than active military use and or inactive use and leaving the place littered with unexploded ordinance. It’s my understanding that it would be hugely difficult to develop this property and certainly Kahele has no plans to support such actions…nor do I believe he would be interested in doing so.

  2. MamaRosa says:

    I’m surprised at your endorsement. I had a chance to talk with Green as he openly asked for “any question “- so I simply said- “how about GMO’s?” His response was just what I would love to hear- that he’s been working on the issue for decades, was one of the forerunners like myself. Also, I reviewed his website via the links you posted and saw some clear action plans on environmental issues. Love and respect you Gary yet I’m not understanding this endorsement.

  3. Roxanne McCloskey says:

    Kai needs a better campaign manager .takeing money from a little kid don’t look too good…We thought Kai would do us more good (big bucks/decisions) in Congress..instead he left the seat open for. ????

    • garyhooser says:

      Thanks for the note Roxanne. I’m guessing we are looking at the same thing but seeing it differently. But that is human nature I suppose. In any case it will all be over in a few days!

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