Today Desperate America Report and the Honolulu Coffee Party Examiner will be taking a look at the list of candidates running for Hawaii’s office of the Lieutenant Governor. This will not be an in-depth look into each candidate. That will be done at a later time as the elections roll around. We will instead be providing a brief introduction of each candidate as well as a link to their campaign websites(There are a few candidates without a website so they will be listed with only their names and party affiliation). The Lt. Governor‘s office is a bit of an interesting topic. Hawaii had previously used the office as the defacto head of elections. However, the legislature chose to create a separate entity to oversee elections. The Lt. Governor is now relegated to public appearances and only has power if the Governor is out-of-town or incapable of carrying out his/her duties. Let’s begin our look at the candidates with the Hawaii GOP.
The Hawaii Republican Party has a simplified race for the September primary. There are only two candidates, however, both candidates are female. The first candidate is current House Minority Leader Lynn Finnegan. Rep. Finnegan has served in the legislature for eight years representing Aiea. She has served as House Minority Leader for the last five years. Rep. Finnegan has a platform highlighted by mandatory minimum school days, no more tax increases, and incentives for the use of locally grown biofuels.
The second Republican candidate for Lt. Governor is attorney, Adrienne S. King. King has spent numerous years at the City Attorney’s office and has since been elected as the Republican vice-chair of East Honolulu. She has served in the Prosecutor’s office as well as being elected to the Hawaii State Bar Association. King has been viewed as being a major player during the lobbying process to create the 4th Judicial Circuit in Kapolei. The new complex has created a TRO office that is easily accessible for residents on the Leeward Coast. King’s candidacy primarily centers on education. Her platform is highlighted by a push for a complete audit of the Department of Education, fully funded charter schools, and decentralizing the current system into local school boards.
Sen. Bobby Bunda is a Democratic candidate and is currently the President of the Senate of the State of Hawai’i. 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 a platform highlighted by a focus to find a solution to the lack of affordable housing in Hawaii.
State Rep. Lyla Berg is a Democratic representing the 18th district. Rep. Berg also 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 has a platform focused on disadvantaged children and families as well as creating employment for Hawaii’s jobless workers.
Gary Hoosier is a State Senator representing Kauai and Niihau. Sen. Hoosier has served in the Senate since 2003 and has previously spent four years on the Kauai County Council. Hoosier 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. Hoosier has a focus on natural energy resources, universal pre-school, and supporting legislation that combats global warming.
Rep. John Riki Karamatsu has served the 41st District of Hawaii since 2002. He was elected into office at the age of 27. 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, creating an international liaison office for the Hawaii State Legislature, and building a multi-use racecar track to attract national and international races.
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. He 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. 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, strengthening the relationship of non-profits and the government, as well as investing in renewable energy.
These are the listed candidates who currently do not have campaign websites available:
Steve Hirakami (D), Leonard Kama (N), and Deborah Spence (F).
Join us Tuesday for a look at the US 1st and 2nd Congressional races.
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