Tag Archives: US house of representatives

The Democratic Candidates for Lt. Governor

Having spent yesterday focusing on the Republican candidates for Lt. Governor, we will now focus our attention to the Democrats vying for the same position.  There is a strong group of candidates to choose from and there will be some tough choices in the primary.  Join Desperate America Report and the Honolulu Coffee Party Examiner as we discuss the Democratic challengers.

Sen. Bobby Bunda is a Democratic candidate and is currently the President of the Senate of the State of Hawai’i. Bunda grew up in the Wahiawa area and graduated from Leilehua High School.  He went on to serve in the US Air Force as well as stints with both the Texas and Hawaii National Guards.  Sen. Bunda serves the 22nd Senate District. He has served in the Hawaii legislature for the last seventeen years. He served as State Representative from 1983-1993, and has been in the Senate since 1994. Sen. Bunda was the first Filipino American to serve as President of any State Legislature in the United States.

Sen. Bunda has publicly stated his support for the use of land trusts to combat the problem of affordable housing.  He has pointed to the need to find a “sustainable” strategy for the future.  Hawaii currently has a major homeless problem and is desperately searching for a solution.  Along with a push for affordable housing, Bunda has advocated for a local workers provision.  Sen. Bunda would like to require at least 80% of workers for public works projects and construction procurements be Hawaii residents.  Bunda believes that the money given to the local workers will stimulate the economy, rather than paying non-residence workers who likely send their money back home.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii has offered up some strong and deserving candidates for the office of the Lt. Governor.

State Rep. Lyla Berg represents the 18th district.  Berg grew up in Hawaii but spent much of her youth traveling the world.  She was introduced to the rich cultures of Europe and became fluent in various languages during her time at Punahou School.  Rep. Berg currently serves as Vice-Chair of the House Education Committee. She has served in the Hawaii legislature since 2004 and was previously the Principal of Kailua Intermediate School. Rep. Berg founded Kids Voting Hawaii in 1996 in an attempt to provide children in grades K-12 with the necessary information to participate in democracy.

Rep. Berg is focused on returning the children of Hawaii to the classrooms while providing a safe learning environment.  She talks about the need to place high quality educators in the classrooms to create a solid core for the community.  An end to furloughs would also allow Berg to return the essential services such as the courts and assistance to needy families.  A former school administrator, the children of Hawaii are the main focus for Lyla Berg.

Gary Hooser is a State Senator representing Kauai and Niihau. Sen. Hooser has served in the Senate since 2003 and has previously spent four years on the Kauai County Council.  He is currently the Majority Leader and is a member of the Ways and Means Committee.  He is known for his open door policy and accessibility for his constituents.  Hooser authored the Solar Mandate Bill in 2008 that required all homes being built after January 1, 2010 to have solar water heaters or a similar system in place.  He is also a staunch supporter of civil-unions and pushed for the passage of HB444.

Sen. Hooser has a focus on natural energy resources which would help keep a percentage of the estimated $7 billion spent on importing oil.  The idea is to keep the money in Hawaii and allow for small businesses to invest in the future of the state.  Hooser pushes for universal pre-school for Hawaii’s keiki.  The proposal would allow every child the opportunity to gain the basic skills needed to succeed in school.

Rep. John Riki Karamatsu has served the 41st District of Hawaii since 2002. He was elected into office at the age of 27. Karamatsu grew up in the Pearl City area and attended Pearl City High School.  He won the Hawaii House seat by without any big name endorsements and against a seasoned opponent.  He was able to earn the trust of voters in the Waipahu and Kunia areas with his hard work and tenacious attitude.

Democrats look to take back the Lt. Governor's office after eight years of Republican rule.

Karamatsu is the Chair on the Judiciary Committee and has served as Majority Whip on two separate occasions. Karamatsu earned a law degree from Gonzaga University and has practiced as an attorney since 2001. He runs on a platform highlighted by a green facility tax credit for facilities that produce clean energy.  He also would like to create an international liaison office for the Hawaii State Legislature which would explore possible partnerships with other countries.  Karamatsu supports the building a multi-use racecar track to attract national and international races.  Hawaii has been without a race track for a number of years and has seen an increase in reckless driving and speeding charges.

Senator for the 15th district, Norman Sakamoto is the Chair of the Senate Education and Housing Committee. Sen. Sakamoto was elected in 1996. The Senator once made a living as a general contractor and engineer in Hawaii and California.  Sakamoto is believed to be one of the front-runners for the nomination and has built up a strong following during his time in the Senate.  He has served as a Military Youth Councilor at Radford High School as well as the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii Education Committee.

Sakamoto has since made the issues of education and affordable housing the focus of his attention.  Sen. Sakamoto has offered a variety of briefs on the subject which can be found on his campaign website.

The former four-term State Representative and Hawaii Democratic Party Chair, Brian Schatz has stepped back into the political world. Schatz served in the legislature from 1998-2006 as State Representative of the 25th district. Schatz then ran unsuccessfully for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional seat. He found a place with the Hawaii Democratic Party and was elected chair in 2008. Schatz saw the number of registered Democrats rocket from 21,000 to over 49,000 during his time as chair.  Schatz has partly attributed the hike in members to the election of Hawaii-born Barack Obama.  However, it must be noted that Schatz aggressively went after the younger voters and bridged the gap to the older generations of Democrats in Hawaii.

He now runs for office on a platform of focusing and adhering to the standards of the “Race to the Top” program under President Obama.  Hawaii is currently a finalist in the recent round of schools.  The switch to the national standards would better equip Hawaii’s schools with the necessary requirements to compete in the program.  Schatz also looks at strengthening the relationship of non-profits and the government.  The idea is to relieve some of the burden on tax payers while still providing important services.  He is also focused on investing in renewable energy.  Hawaii spends too much money importing oil and needs to utilize the limitless potential currently untapped.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii has provided voters with a talented bunch of candidates for the Lt. Governor position.  It will be fun to see which candidates gain the upper hand in the coming weeks.  As time ticks away, it will be interesting to see how each campaign goes about explaining their platforms and past work.  All of the contenders have had experience as a legislator and will have to defend their records.  It will be a tough race.

Sen. Bunda and Sen. Sakamoto are the early favorites because of their history and large war chests.  However, they will need to focus on the issues and getting their visions to the public.  Expect a strong push from Hooser and Berg as they become more familiar with voters and get their name out in the public.  We see this race ending with some mix of Hooser, Sakamoto, and Berg in the top three slots.

Join us on Thursday as we take a look at the Democratic candidates for the two US House seats up for grabs this election.

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Special Comment: Sen. Robert Byrd

Robert Carlyle Byrd was born on November 20, 1917.  Byrd served as a US Senator from the state of West Virginia since 1959.  Byrd holds the record for the longest-serving senator and the longest-serving in Congress.  Sen. Byrd passed away on Monday, June 28, 2010.  He had been in the hospital over the weekend and was reportedly in serious condition.  The West Virginia senator recently served as President pro tempore of the United States Senate beginning in 2007.  The position put him third in the line of succession for President behind the Vice President and Speaker of the House.

Sen. Robert Byrd was a strong advocate for campaign finance reform and opposed the Iraq War/WSJ.com

Sen. Byrd started his career as a staunch conservative and was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940′s.  Byrd would later renounce his participation in the Klan as youthful indiscretion.  However, his intentions would come under fire during his first term as he led a filibuster of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  Byrd’s early career is in stark contrast from the man who became a close friend of Sen. Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts.  Sen. Kennedy has long been known as one of the fiercest liberals to have roamed the halls of the Congress.  Byrd served in the US House of Representatives beginning in 1953 through 1959 when Byrd was elected into the US Senate.  Sen. Byrd had been elected to an unheard of nine consecutive terms with his reelection in 2006.  Sen. Byrd has served in Congress longer than a handful of his colleagues have been alive.

The voting history of Sen. Byrd has taken many interesting turns.  He has the record for the most votes cast with more than 18,000 votes.  The West Virginia man is best known for his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and his strong opposition to the Iraq War.  Byrd’s political views can best be described as ever evolving.  What began as a strong conservative, seemed to move towards the left and become a much more moderate.  Sen. Byrd had long been known for his fiscal conservatism and his push for campaign finance reform.  Byrd would constantly use his time on the Senate floor to implore his colleagues to adopt tougher campaign finance regulations and create an even playing field for all political candidates. Byrd is also known as the “King of Pork.”  It is a title given to him by the group, Citizens against Government Waste.  Byrd kept large amounts of money flowing into his home state for public works projects.  Sen. Byrd held the chair position on the Senate Appropriations Committee beginning in 1989.  It had been suggested the Sen. Byrd sent over $1 for public works into this state.

In 1969 Sen. Byrd launched a Scholastic Recognition Award and began awarding savings bonds to valedictorian from public and private high schools in West Virginia.  In 1985, Congress approved the creation of a merit-based scholarship program that would be funded by the US Department of Education.  The program would later be named in Byrd’s honor and began awarding one-year scholarships to students with outstanding academic achievements.  The Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program would later award four-year scholarships beginning in 1993.  Sen. Byrd also started the TAH Grants which would strengthen K-12 public schools by awarding grants ranging from $500,000 to $1 million.

Sen. Robert Byrd may not have been the perfect politicians, nor could he be considered the perfect American.  However, Sen. Byrd can not be questioned in terms of doing what he felt was the right thing to do.  Sen. Byrd served this nation for more than half of his life and has left a mark on American politics and society.  Robert Byrd’s passing is just another blow for the old school mentality of politics where our leaders were accountable for their actions and focused on policies instead of politics.  Sen. Byrd’s passion and drive to help America will be missed.  Desperate America offers condolences to the Byrd family and hopes others will honor the senior senator from West Virginia.

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*the Monday’s Best series will return next week with a look at another great organization*

Congratulations Representative-Elect Djou

Cross-Posted with Honolulu Coffee Party Examiner

At 6pm on Saturday, May 22, 2010, Charles Djou won the special election for the US House of Representatives Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District.  The seat had been previously held by Neil Abercrombie.  With Abercrombie’s resignation, Hawaii held the all mail-in ballot election to find his successor.  Mr. Djou will now be vacating his position on the Honolulu City Council and will be heading to Washington D.C. to work on Capitol Hill.

Congratulations to Mr. Djou on his hard-fought victory and for a successful campaign.  Every voter that has supported Mr. Djou will hope that he will keep to his pledge of working with the current leadership in Washington to find the solutions to America’s problems.  Hopefully Mr. Djou will work for the people of Hawaii and will spurn the naysayers that depict him as a rank and file Republican.

Good luck in Washington D.C. Representative Djou and may you work hard to help all Americans.

Hawaii’s Special Election

On just about every political news website, one of the top stories features Hawaii’s special election to fill the vacant 1st Congressional District seat. The election has three main opponents, Republican Charles Djou and Democrats Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa. The election will be done through a mail-in ballot process. Ballots have already begun to arrive in the mailboxes of registered voters. Hawaii rarely uses this type of process for an election of this magnitude. However, this is a stand-alone election and the mail-in process saved more money.

Republican candidate, Charles Djou, currently is a Honolulu City Councilman

Those unfamiliar with how this process works needs to look no further than Desperate America. Today’s post is not designed to tell you how to vote. Nor is it designed as a campaign tool for a specific candidate. Instead, we will go over how the process will unfold and what you need to do to ensure your voice is heard.

Democrat Ed Case previously held the 2nd CD House seat after the passing of Patsy Mink.

The ballots were initially mailed out to registered voters at the end of April. The ballots will continue to arrive over the next 7-10 days. Inside each envelope is a ballot and a return envelope. There is no need for stamps as the postage is already paid for. The return envelope and the ballot itself provide instructions on how to properly cast your vote and the procedure of mailing the ballot back. Once the ballot has been completed and put into the return envelope, it is important that you sign your return envelope. There is an area under the flap of the envelope that requires your signature. If you fail to provide your signature, your vote will be deemed invalid and will not be counted for the election. Place your envelope in the mailbox and be sure that it is taken by the post man. Congratulations, you have voted for the 1st CD vacancy! If for any reason you made a mistake on the ballot or something occurred which prevents you from mailing back the ballot, contact the Office of Elections immediately.

Democrat Colleen Hanabusa is the current Hawaii Senate President.

The special election for the 1st CD seat in the United States House of Representatives, was needed after the resignation of Neil Abercrombie. Rep. Abercrombie resigned for the seat earlier this year to run for governor of Hawaii. Abercrombie had been part of Hawaii’s congressional delegation since 1991. The special election will reveal the new winner on May 22, 2010. Voting will end at 6pm on that day. There is also an option of absentee walk-in voting that can be done at Honolulu Hale starting on May 10-20 from 8am-5pm. There is no excuse to not take part in the election.

This election will fill the vacant seat until the upcoming primary and general elections in the fall of 2010. The winner of this special election will only hold the seat for a few months. However, whomever comes out of this special election as the winner, will no doubt have all the momentum and a lot larger campaign fund than the competitors. If you failed to register in time for this election, don’t fret. You still have time to register for the coming primary and general elections. However, don’t procrastinate until it is too late!

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