Karleen C. Chinen

The all-important general election is just 20 days away as we send this issue of the Herald to press. It is a very important election. Besides electing our state’s new governor, we will be deciding on who will represent us in the halls of Congress, both in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. There are key races for the state Legislature, county mayors, our city and county councils and for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. We will also be voting on amendments to Hawaii’s Constitution.

So,, it is vitally important that we study the issues and the candidates and their respective positions on the issues. To aid in your decision-making, the Herald compiled separate lists of questions for the candidates for governor, U.S. Senate, and U.S. Congress Districts 1 and 2. The questions were emailed to those with email addresses that we could find, and mailed by USPS to all other candidates. If their names will appear on your general election ballot, they were given the opportunity to share their views. Most of the candidates responded; some did not. Our thanks to those who did respond. By doing so, they helped to inform us of their positions on the issues and their ideas for improving life in Hawaii.

Hawaii’s low voter turnout — it was in the neighborhood of 40 percent in the August primary election, despite a number of highly important and competitive races — is worrisome and we need to find out why people feel so detached from the political process and find ways to change that. There is truth in the four words being spoken during this political season — “No Vote, No Grumble.”

This issue also features a commentary by former political reporter Tom Coffman, who has been observing and studying Hawaii’s political scene since the 1960s when he first arrived in Hawaii. Tom has also done extensive research and writing on Hawaii’s history. His work has given us a greater appreciation for Hawaii and the people — both prominent figures and everyday heroes — who helped to shape our society. Because of the depth and breadth of Tom’s knowledge, I extended an invitation to him to write about an aspect of this year’s elections that he found especially interesting. I hope that you’ll find his observations as thought-provoking as I did.

Between studying the candidates and their positions — and voting — I hope you will also make time in your schedule to take in several of the Hawaii International Film Festival offerings. Personally, I don’t have much time or desire to go and see very many of the films coming out of Hollywood. But HIFF is something I look forward to every year because there are always films whose beauty and message linger with me long after I have left the theater.

Photo: 2013 HIFF Special Events by Rae Huo


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