Sherry Menor is a very nice person whom I have known for years. We’ve interacted since my time serving in the Senate, normally on opposite sides of the issues. She has always been pleasant and professional but we each see the world through a different lens. She spends year after year, session after legislative session – pushing back against environmental and worker protection laws and helping her bosses at the Hawaiʻi Chamber of Commerce to maximize their profits.
I’ve spent those same years fighting hard to increase environmental protections and worker rights and benefits.
Former Honolulu Council Chair Ikaika Anderson, I do not know well so I have been asking people who live in his Council district about him. The answers I’m getting are not positive ones. As further evidence of a disconnect between Anderson and his immediate constituents, 46% of the 2016 voters left their ballots blank even though he was unopposed. His was the only name on the ballot for that Council seat and 46% of the voters chose not to put an X next to his name. It’s not uncommon for 15% to 20% of voters to leave their ballots blank on unopposed races, but 46% certainly means something is seriously not right.
There’s something else there that makes it impossible for me to vote for Ikaika Anderson. I’m not quite sure what it is, but it may be related to his irritating TV ad claims of achievement and endless experience, combined with those pesky blank votes.
Representative Sylvia Luke is or was probably the most powerful woman in Hawaiʻi politics. Almost every single bill that passed through the State House was subject to her review and veto power if she did not like it. As Chair of the powerful House Finance Committee, she wielded her power in a quiet, competent, and somewhat muted manner – from the publics perspective. But among those who had matters before her committee, a hesitancy to cross her and the fear of retaliation are front and center realities.
According to Civil Beat Luke has spent an eyeopening $951,000 in the L.G.’s race during the first six months of this year. You will not find Sylvia Luke being a strong advocate for banning fundraising during the legislative session, that is for sure.
Money and power and business as usual are the thoughts that come to my mind when considering whether or not to cast my L.G. vote for Sylvia Luke. I just can’t do it.
So, yes…I’m voting for Keith Amemiya to be the next Hawaiʻi Lieutenant Governor. While it’s true he’s the only candidate left standing, there is more to it than that. His issue platform aligns with mine, he brings new and positive energy to the table, and for whatever reason – I trust the guy.
To be clear I am not making this decision lightly. I’ve been doing my homework, looking into his background, reviewing the various campaign websites, and calling friends who work in the political world.
The answers I’ve gotten from others, and the ultimate conclusion I’ve come to can be summed up in three sentences:
Voting for Menor and the Chamber of Commerce is a nonstarter.
Anderson and Luke represent money, power, and politics as usual – pick your poison.
Amemiya offers new energy, a fresh perspective, and hope for the future.
That’s plenty enough reason for my vote.
Note to all the other candidates running for this office who are not on the above list: To win, you must start earlier and run a real campaign. You may be a great candidate for the office but I don’t know who you are, and you certainly have not convinced me that I should vote for you, or include you in the discussion. To win you must figure out a way to “get on the radar”. Campaigns are hard, winning against better-known and better-financed candidates is hard. It may mean starting out lower on the political food chain. #justsayin