The Honolulu Star Advertiser hosted a digital town hall on June 29, 2022 for the top three presumptive gubernatorial candidates – Vicky Cayetano, Josh Green, and Kai Kahele.
Yunji de Nies and Ryan Kalei Tsuji hosted the hour-long program.
For those who did not watch the Star Advertiser Spotlight Forum, I’m highlighting the Campaign Finance Reform issue.
About the 50:00 timeline, Representative Kai Kahele retorted at Lt. Governor Green’s comments about leading by example:
” … for the Lt Gov Green to talk about leading by example, frankly, it’s a joke because his (Green) campaign is funded by hundreds of thousands of dollars by outside mainland donors, corporations, special interests, big pharma, maxed dollar donors , wealthy individuals from the mainland that want to control the economic and political life of this state.”
Green was visibly irritated and quickly responded that he was disappointed by Kahele’s “attack” and it was not appropriate as he (Green) was a “hardworking doctor and Lt. governor “.
Green again implemented the red herring fallacy to distract from his own record and accused Kahele of “sensationalism”. Green proceeded to accusing Kahele’s of donations from indicted Mitsunaga and others.
However, it must be noted that this federal indictment case is very specific. It’s focused on the Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro who received donations from Mitsunaga & Associates to prosecute one of Dennis Mitsunaga’s former employee.
Kahele should have brought up Green’s most egregious Pay to Play quid pro quo . The Carpenter’s Union donated about $1M at the last minute to Green in 2018 to edge over Jill Tokuda.
Green in turn dutifully appointed one of its union officials as his Chief of Staff.
Is money buying elections?
Isn’t this a blatant example of PAY TO PLAY?
Green’s action is very significant because the Chief of Staff controls the office of the Lt. Governor and its operations. His Deputy Chief of Staff is from the Healthcare Sector. His Senior Policy Advisor is from the Insurance sector.
I didn’t take it as an “attack” when Kahele highlighted Green’s donations from the mainland interests, unions, maxed out donors, big pharma, and so on.
Candidates cannot run away nor be offended by their own record. The Public has every right to question and raise concerns to hold the candidate accountable.
This is why Campaign Finance Reform is so critical. If this cancer is not controlled, candidates who are willing to play along with special interests groups will continue to receive donations. With these big donations, candidates are able to hire staff for their campaign, pay for expensive social media, television ads and so forth.
Candidates can literally reinvent themselves with sophisticated media propaganda and manipulated narratives for their desired outcome. The Status Quo continues.
Voters may feel outgunned and overwhelmed by campaign finance concerns. But elections are won vote by vote.
Voters have the power. Voters can make a conscious choice to boycott candidates with big donations from special interests.
Voters also need not feel the pressure to tell any one who they voted for.
Happy 4th of July!