Star-Advertiser Endorses David Ige for Governor

See why teachers are voting for David Ige


David Ige our choice for governor

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Oct 19, 2014

Hawaii elections have been seen as an unchanging landscape, but even the most cynical may find that an ill-fitting stereotype, now that political alignments are shifting. At the very least, the 2014 gubernatorial race should be viewed through the lens of the state’s current challenges, and which candidate is best positioned to meet them.

Looking to Nov. 4, Democrat David Ige has emerged as the best choice to fill the state’s needs as its next governor.

Hawaii needs a leader who is capable of building consensus, following through on pledges to see that they’re carried out properly. This requires collaboration between the executive and legislative branches.

Few disagree with policies addressing homelessness, affordable-housing needs and the shortcomings of public education—but they have been advanced only marginally in four years.

In ousting the combative incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who grew to alienate his constituent groups, the electorate made it plain that what’s needed now is not contentiousness but a conciliator, one who has deep working relationships with lawmakers who can bring plans to fruition.

As the current chairman of the powerful Senate Ways and Means (WAM) Committee, Ige has those attributes to a greater degree than his competitors for the office: former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Libertarian candidate Jeff Davis.

In terms of style, Ige is plainspoken and affable, not given to lofty rhetoric. It may well be what Hawaii needs at present; forging a trust and connection with the public at large is important.

In the private sector, Ige is a project manager and executive in information technology. If he can carry out his promise to employ that IT know-how to transform the antiquated and silo-ridden state system—to effect structural change from within to create efficiencies—that would be accomplishment indeed.

Ige has risen to the occasion, but certainly, a spirited contest is being waged by Hannemann and Aiona.

Hannemann, in particular, retains a charisma and political savvy that enable him to make impressive in-roads, even as an independent without an established political-party base. The Independent Party is an intriguing bridge entity, but as the former mayor acknowledges, getting traction is tough.

During the primary season Ige criticized the governor but spoke only vaguely about his own plans for the state. It’s gratifying to see him be more clear about what he intends to do. This engenders confidence that he would rise to the many challenges of the top job.

Ige has worked persuasively to sharpen his message: the measured, intelligent and detail-oriented professional engineer has laid out an agenda titled “Engineering Hawaii’s Future” (

Three main points from the plan:

>> Budget: Ige articulates a fiscally conservative policy that should appeal to taxpayers, and promises that the state will make targeted investments to grow the economy and “operate within its means” instead of raising or adding taxes.

Indeed, as WAM chairman, he has already put action to the words. Efficiency improvements at the Taxation Department will yield more revenue—taxes that are already owed, rather than new ones—as much as $500 million, by some estimates.

>> Economy: The best bang-for-the-buck investments—in the range of tens of millions—are in the realm of business assists.  Ige favors a strategy of using “business accelerators”—programs of mentorship and investment for startups—and targeted tax credits for new businesses in areas such as information technology, clean energy, health care and local agriculture.

>> Education: Ige has served as the Senate’s education chairman and clearly has strong feelings on this issue. He believes the key to more successful public education is in getting more resources under the control of the school leaders themselves.

In education and other areas, Ige believes finding good leaders and empowering them is the essential to boosting performance. This is demonstrably true, exemplified at numerous public-school campuses.

This year’s campaign has elicited some intriguing policy proposals.

For example, Aiona has hit on a populist theme with his notion of rent-to-equity programs for would-be homeowners.

And Hannemann is right that a Council of Leaders enlisting the collaboration of the governor and the four mayors would be useful. The next governor—a true leader—should embrace some of these ideas.

“It really is about finding the best leaders,” Ige said in a meeting with the Star-Advertiser editorial board last week, “telling them that we want them to do their jobs and empowering them to do the jobs.

“And then holding them accountable ... changing the culture in the departments.”

Changing government culture is a tall order, but we’d like to see what Ige can do in the next four years.

And about the accountability: Yes, voters should apply that measure to their next governor, as well.

October 17, 2014
Read why Duke Aiona is toxic for Hawaii » (pdf)

October 14, 2014

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NEA: Hawaii can’t afford to go back to the bad Lingle-Aiona days
Good news is there’s a clear choice to move Hawaii forward in David Ige for governor

WASHINGTON - October 14, 2014 - The NEA Advocacy Fund today launched “Enough,” a television and digital ad to remind voters in Hawaii about the bad days of the Lingle-Aiona administration. The significant ad buy is six figures and is scheduled to run starting Oct. 14 through Oct. 20 in Hawaii’s media market.

“Duke Aiona can pretend that he wasn’t there during the Lingle-Aiona administration,” said Karen White, NEA Political Director. “The truth of the matter is that voters are smart and they recall the bad policies that led to schools closures and furlough Fridays, which denied students 17 days of classroom learning and were hard on parents and working families. They recall that as Lingle’s Lieutenant Governor, Aiona pushed $100 million in cuts to education funding. Educators certainly won’t forget those cuts because some cuts never heal. The cuts that the Lingle-Aiona team pushed went so deep that students and schools paid the price.”

“Hawaii needs to go in a new direction,” said White. “Voters need to elect leaders like David Ige because he will invest in education to prepare our children for the jobs of the 21st century. He will put students and families ahead of politics. David Ige will focus his efforts on rebuilding the economy in order to move Hawaii forward.”

Ad script
  Hawaii Teacher #1: How could Hawaii ever forget?
  Hawaii Teacher #2: It was bad enough the Linda Lingle/Duke Aiona Furlough Fridays denied students seventeen days of classroom learning.
  Hawaii Teacher #3: But the Lingle-Aiona Furlough Fridays were also a terrible hardship for parents and working families.
  Hawaii Teacher #2: Then, when parents asked to be heard, Governor Lingle threated to arrest them.
  Hawaii Teacher #1: And Lingle-Aiona cut a hundred million dollars from public education.
  Hawaii Teacher #2: So, now, Duke Aiona wants to be governor?
  Hawaii Teacher #3: We can’t go back. We need to move Hawaii forward.
  Hawaii Teacher #1: With David Ige, Democrat for Governor.

The NEA Advocacy Fund, NEA’s independent expenditure PAC, paid for this ad and is responsible for its content.

To view the television ad, please CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW: