Gubernatorial candidates participate in forum, minus Ige

The race for governor continued Friday with the candidates meeting for their first forum.

All but one participated in a forum hosted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii at the Pacific Club.

Democratic nominee David Ige did not show up. He backed out Thursday and made other plans.

The state senator said he changed his mind because he was concerned about some of the guidelines of the forum.

Just two weeks after the primary votes were tallied, three of the candidates for governor met for their first forum: Republican candidate Duke Aiona, Libertarian candidate Jeff Davis and Hawaii Independent Party candidate Mufi Hannemann.

They agreed on some of the issues, such as not raising taxes and government transparency.

“Government needs to be run like a business that you need to be open and transparent, especially when it comes to finances,” said Hannemann.

“Transparency starts right here. It starts with me, my attitude and how I view myself and what I do in government,” said Aiona.

“I feel fiscal notes would be very helpful for the people to understand what legislation really means,” said Davis.

One of the questions from the audience was whether change is needed at the University of Hawaii.

“Part of the problem, are the politicians inserting themselves in every single decision that’s made at the University of Hawaii when it’s not to someone’s liking,” Aiona said.

“We obviously need to get more students, teachers and faculty in general in the decision-making process,” Davis said.

“In Jim Collins’ book, ‘Good to Great,’ one of the maxims of leadership is put the right people in the right seats on the bus. So let’s do a better job of doing that,” Hannemann said.

Ige backed out of the forum after learning the group hosting the event was recording it and could use the video however it wanted.

The senator’s spokesperson said, “David felt that any candidate, or individual for that matter, should be concerned with this type of agreement, as we all know how statements can be taken out of context.”

Hannemann and Davis said Ige’s absence did not bother them, but Aiona said he was “just disappointed. We had committed to this forum about a week and a half ago, and I was looking forward to engaging with all of the candidates.”

Ige’s spokesperson said there will be many more forums and debates, and that the senator looks forward to those events.

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