I’ve finally come to a decision on the Hawaiʻi Lieutenant Governor’s race

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.

Gary Hooser
Read also:
Why I’m Supporting Kai Kahele Over Josh Green

Sergio Alcubilla For Congress – the little engine that could

Why Choose Sergio Alcubilla Over Blue-Dog Ed Case

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

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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9 Responses to I’ve finally come to a decision on the Hawaiʻi Lieutenant Governor’s race

  1. JRay says:

    My ballot for Lt. Gov. will be blank — I learned enough when Amemiya ran for mayor to know he’s at best a blue dog and at worst a closet republican — he may bee the least of the evils, but that’s no longer enough for me.

    • garyhooser says:

      Thanks for the note…your thoughtful comments are always welcome and appreciated. I’ve struggled with the concept of voting or not voting for the lesser of evils…and continue to think it is better to choose the best person on the ballot (who has any chance at all of winning). Every candidate is flawed. I cannot reconcile myself to helping the election of someone with greater flaws by refusing to cast a vote for the one with lesser flaws. Am thinking I should write about and think about this concept and dilemma further in the future.

      • JRay says:

        re: blank voting — your blog notes that:

        “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.”

        A construct I often use to analyze competing arguments is to look at an extreme example or the logical endpoint — this helps to ensure that a reasonable argument does not obscure a possibility beyond our normal range of consideration.

        Nazi Germany unfortunately provides such an extreme endpoint — but it is real and happened less than 100 years ago (in my parents lifetime). I have used it when deciding whether or not to ‘just sit down with someone and see if we can’t find some areas to agree on; to compromise.’

        And while I’m not saying Amemiya is even close to that extreme endpoint (though the Republican Party is dangerously close), I have watched the ‘lesser of evils’ continue to take Hawai’i to this present sad echo of its past noble self, and I won’t cooperate with those who continue down that path — so without a candidate that offers a glimmer of hope, my vote for Lt Gov. will be blank, and I’ll stand with the silent 46%.

  2. PNaka says:

    Amemiya offers new energy, a fresh perspective, and hope for the future..The guy is the ultimate insider backed by Bishop Street with loads of money from the power brokers..the type of group that HAPA Alliance is butting heads with..Keith is a big no for me.

    • garyhooser says:

      I would ask if Keith is a no, who is your yes? I took a long hard look at the 4 primary contenders and came to a no on Menor, Andersen and Luke. You apparently have looked at the same 4 and concluded differently – that is democracy at work! BTW – HAPA does not endorse or support candidates and my support of Keith is not on behalf of HAPA. Cheers!

  3. Ramona Hussey says:

    Excellent points, JRay!
    Sometimes a blank vote, or a protest vote is the best thing one can do to forward the conversation.

  4. Judy Levy says:

    Gary dear, this is disappointing because
    Junior Tupai Is the awesome and brilliant man I am working to have for my next add for my next
    LT Gov. He’s a big island activist and beautiful scholar, And pastor. I have spent some time with him and find him very sincere poised and ready to serve us… He is truly of the people for the people please connect with him if you can. Blessings for your hard work to help us be clear.
    Our Hawaii state General Jural Assembly will be meeting in Honolulu end of the month to Connect all 4 of our islands and celebrate the 1st anniversary of this Group that is a tool from our founding fathers. We will be moving in the direction of forming of forming Peoples grand juries So that we can hold some of these elected officials who who supported crimes against humanity accountable for their misdeeds and possibly recall them. Governor Ige is at the top of the list! NUFF CORRUPTION ALREADY!!

    • garyhooser says:

      Hello Judy. Thanks for the comment/note and I certainly respect your opinion and choice on this…but I cannot agree. After reviewing his website, Jr. Tupai does not appear to support gun control, a woman’s right to choose, or the separation of Church and State. His website does not mention climate change, LGBTQ rights or marriage equality. Neither does he mention environmental protection or our indigenous culture. – as you surely must know by now Rosemarie, this candidate is not someone I can support and I have no interest in supporting or debating his candidacy. It’s not just because he is a Republican. Believe it or not,​ I have friends and family who identify as Republican- but they are pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, pro-increased gun control, and pro-keeping the strict separation of church and state.

    • JRay says:

      Two words: “Republican Party”

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