HONOLULU (KHON2) — Following a crowded field of candidates in the August primaries, the voters have decided to have Lt. Gov. Josh Green (D) and former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona (R) face off on Nov. 8 in Hawaii’s gubernatorial election.
Voters will receive their ballots in the mail by Oct. 21.
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KHON2 will be broadcasting the governor’s office debate on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. on KHII and 9 p.m. on KHON2. There will also be a discussion between the two candidates for lieutenant governor.
To preview, Green and Aiona were asked 10 questions — a mix of serious and less serious ones — that both reflect their stance on issues as well as their personalities. One of them will succeed Gov. David Ige (D) who’s ending his second term and cannot run again.
Below are Green’s answers. Click here to read Aiona’s responses.
#1 If you were governor at the start of the COVID pandemic, would you do things differently? In what ways?
I would have immediately set up a free testing and vaccination hub, run 24/7 on each island, with a single website/tech solution to contact trace positive cases.
#2 What’s your favorite local place to go to for food and what do you order?
I love Leonard’s malasadas and Rainbow Drive-in’s boneless chicken with gravy. Zippy’s chili is also on my list.
#3 What’s your plan to help local businesses that continue to close? Why should they support your campaign?
We should decrease the regulatory burden for businesses to operate in Hawaii, especially for those with 50 or fewer employees. In the future if the state ever requires a pause in visitors, which we should avoid, all standing leases should be fully covered.
#4 What advice would you give yourself at age 16?
The same advice I give my kids now, never, ever get into a car with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs. Offer to get them home safely.
#5 What are your top 3 priorities as governor?
My top 3 priorities are:
1. Address our affordable housing crisis by building rapidly, including with Department of Hawaiian Homelands, and building enforcing rules against illegal air B&Bs. Workforce housing for our local families has to be prioritized,
2. Decrease the homeless problem by 2/3 in 3-4 years, with a multifaceted approach including building 12 Kauhale villages statewide, housing first and repurposing unused buildings,
3. Build a diverse economy by supporting industries like sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and film.
#6 Hawaii is currently ranked the worst state for teachers. Why do you think that is and what’s your plan to fix it?
Teachers must be paid more and we need teacher workforce housing to be made available through 21st Century school development plans.
#7 During your time as LG, what was one thing you wanted to accomplish but didn’t? What was the reason?
I wanted to build a Kauhale on every island but the trend didn’t catch on until my 3rd year, and we were hit with the COVID crisis which made travel and this project more difficult. We completed two which are helping many people.
#8 If you could compare yourself with an animal, what would it be and why?
I am, I suppose like a dog, very loyal to those who consider me a part of their Ohana. COVID made me feel like I was a part of almost every Ohana in our state.
#9 What sets you apart from your opponent?
As a physician public servant I was given the honor and responsibility of being one of the leaders in our response to Hawaii’s greatest crisis ever, the COVID pandemic. I was also tasked with rebooting our economy with the safe travels program. These experiences were unique to any leadership responsibility anyone else in Hawaii had, and will be invaluable if I am chosen to be our next governor. Hawaii had the highest rated response nationwide, which gratefully saved many lives.
#10 What do you think will be your biggest obstacle in achieving your goals as governor, and how do you plan to address it?
It will be my job to inspire people, after very hard times, to move Hawaii forward. I will do it by humbly communicating our needs and challenges, in a way that respects the intelligence and capacity of our great people. We need a compassionate and strong communicator this decade to deal with homelessness, housing shortages and matters like Red Hill and the TMT. If we respect one another and treat each other as equals there is nothing that we can’t achieve.
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What else do you want to know? Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, Oct. 5.