We like David Ige’s policy. He supports a living wage, brought air conditioning to schools, gave us medical cannabis dispensaries, signed a chlorpyrifos and oxybenzone ban into law last year, and his “Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative” is the kind of thinking that puts Hawai‘i on the map as a leader in environmental stewardship. However, the role of governor is not just about policy. It is also about leadership.
We remember the terror we endured on Jan. 13 after emergency alerts told us a ballistic missile was headed towards the islands. Ige knew the alert was a false alarm two minutes after it went out, but it took him 17 minutes to clear up the mistake on Twitter. It took another six minutes for an update to post on Facebook, and the correction on the emergency broadcast system appeared 38 minutes after the mistake. When officials finally appeared on TV, Ige was absent and the response from the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency showed a lack of accountability that was later revealed to be prevalent in the department.
The mismanagement of this mistake is egregious, and in our interview Ige indicated that he still depends on staff to manage his Twitter account. This all makes us question the governor’s ability as an executive to act swiftly in emergencies to keep residents safe. We also question his leadership when it comes to other issues, like the constantly ballooning cost of Honolulu Rail (that Maui’s Transient Accommodations Tax funds help pay for) and a need to bring parties to the table to actively seek solutions regarding the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.
As state senate president, Hanabusa worked on the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative, which set the goal for 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, and in her role as congresswoman she has a record of advocating for the environment and public lands. While we will watch her militarism closely, we believe that she will be able to continue the progressive work of Governor Ige, while being a strong leader that works to restore public trust in government.
Early voting is available until August 9. Primary Election Day will be on August 11 from 7am to 6pm. Visit elections.hawaii.gov to learn more.