Over the next month we’ll examine the various state and county races, culminating in endorsements before the September 18 primary. This week, we look at the three state House races that feature more than one candidate from the same party.
State Rep. District 8
Name: Thomas Cerizo
Profile: Cerizo, an insurance agent who says he has 30 years of experience in the industry, didn’t file a campaign spending report, indicating his fundraising efforts have been minimal. He also didn’t respond to our candidate questionnaire and we couldn’t find a campaign Web site.
Web site: Unknown
Name: Justin Hughey
Profile: A teacher who moonlights as a waiter, Hughey not surprisingly makes education reform his central issue. Ideas he proposes include moving away from standardized testing and creating “a broader definition of student achievement”; giving principals, rather than the Department of Education, control over day-to-day operations; and offering incentives to attract and retain local teachers.
Web site: Putateacherinthehouse.com
Name: Tasha Kama
Profile: Kama challenged the incumbent, Joe Souki, in the 2008 primary and garnered 40 percent of the vote, losing by less than 500 votes. A community organizer and ordained minister who has previously made bids for the County Council and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs board, she favors environmental and Native Hawaiian issues. In a 2008 MauiTime profile, Kama said that “we have to expand our economic base…to work the land, and move to renewable energy sources.”
Web site: Tashakama.com
Name: Joe Souki
Profile: Souki has served in the state House since 1982, where he chairs the Transportation Committee. He drew heat in 2008 for helping push the Superferry forward without an Environmental Impact Statement, and last year he addressed the Maui County Council on behalf of the American Chemistry Council, speaking out against a proposed ban on styrofoam takeout containers. Not surprisingly, most of his campaign contributions come from outside his district, and many from big business interests.
Web site: Capitol.hawaii.gov/hsemaj/souki_joe.html
Note: Republican Dean Schmucker is running unchallenged
State Rep. District 10
Name: Ramon Madden
Profile: Madden ran unopposed in the 2008 Republican primary, but was defeated by incumbent Angus McKelvey in the general election. A chef and Web designer, Madden touts himself as “the people’s grass roots candidate.” “We could be and should be inspiring the rest of the state but instead we take orders from Oahu,” he says. He has also aligned himself with the Maui Tea Party, and recently expressed opposition to civil union bill HB444 on MauiTime’s Facebook page, stating that the bill “doesn’t ‘add’ civil rights, it takes them away.”
Web site: Votemaui.com
Name: Chayne Marten
Profile: Marten ran for the West Maui Council seat in 2008, finishing a distant third with less than 9 percent of the vote. He puts construction of a West Maui hospital, highway projects and protection of Honolua Bay at the top of his priority list, and attempts to steal Obama’s thunder with his (slightly confusing) campaign slogan, “Vote For Chayn(g)e!”
Web site: Ichayne.com
Note: Incumbent Democrat Angus McKelvey is running unchallenged
State Rep. District 11
Name: Johanna Amorin
Profile: Amorin has experience—she chaired the Maui Planning Commission—which makes it surprising that she appears to have no campaign Web site, only a personal Facebook page set to private. As one of two candidates trying to unseat an incumbent, she needs to increase her profile.
Web site: Johannaamorin.com
Name: Joe Bertram
Profile: Bertram is tough to pin down. On the one hand, he’s been a bold advocate for social issues, backing same-sex unions and railing against the state’s failure to implement its voter-approved medical marijuana law. He’s also worked to change the Maui Department of Liquor Control’s ridiculous dancing rules, which earns him points with us. On the other hand, he’s exercised questionable judgement a number of times (in February, after he filed for bankruptcy, he told The Maui News that he didn’t sign up for the medical benefits offered to all state legislators despite the fact that he’s HIV positive). Whether his missteps have weakened him enough to make his seat vulnerable remains to be seen.
Web site: Capitol.hawaii.gov/hsemaj/bertram_joe.html
Name: Netra Halperin
Profile: Halperin, who has worked as a child therapist and nonprofit consultant, ran against Joe Pontanilla for the Kahului Council seat in 2008, finishing with just over 25 percent of the vote. Now she’s moved to South Maui and is aiming for Oahu. She cites as her top priorities education, the environment and removing “the regulatory barriers that impede small business and thwart the construction of affordable housing.”
Web site: Electnetra.com
Note: Republican George Fontaine is running unchallenged
Primary Election: September 18
General Election: November 2
Web site: www.hawaii.gov/elections