SERVING THE FILIPINO COMMUNITY SINCE 1993
NOV. 3, 2018

COVER STORY

COVER STORY

LG Candidates Green and Dipasupil Kerns Appeal to Filipino Community for Votes

 

By Edwin QUINABO

The lieutenant governor’s race is often overlooked by other bigger races for higher office. But traditionally, the candidate who wins the LG seat eventually becomes that star political candidate of the future, running for the most influential and prized political office. Former governors George Ariyoshi, John Waihee III, and Ben Cayetano all served as lieutenant governors. Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz are alumnus of the LG office.

The LG position is known as the ultimate stepping stone public office. Those seeking to become LG are politicians who usually have paid their dues, risen up the ranks at the State House and State Senate, but only lack one thing: statewide name recognition. The four years or more

(while serving as LG) is a time when already well- known “district” politicians become more known to the rest of the state; and in the process, the office holder makes a difference on “pet projects” that the governor allows the LG to undertake.

Sometimes this sequence of events pan out; and sometimes they don’t like in the case of former lieutenant governor Duke Aiona whose political party has handicapped his chances to leap to the next level.

This year, Republican LG candidate Marissa Dipasupil Kerns and her gubernatorial running-mate Andria Tupola, dream of turning the state leadership “red” once again as former Gov. Linda Lingle first did 16 years ago (in her first term). While Democrat Joshua Green and incumbent Gov. David Ige fight to keep the aloha state, “blue.”

2018 Major LG candidates

JOSHUA “Josh” GREEN

Democrat candidate Josh Green fits the Democrat party’s mold for LG. Green, an MD, served in the state Legislature for 14 years, first in the House of Representatives (two terms) and then the Senate (three terms) where he served as Majority Floor Leader

He is well-known in the district he represents Naalehu, Kailua and Kona on the Big Island and received a whopping 82 percent of the votes in the last Senate district race. But outside of that district and to many Oahu residents, Green is not yet the household political name.

Green has chaired the Senate Committee on Health and the Committee on Human Services for nine years and has made his mark on various legislations such as helping to raise the legal age of cigarette and tobacco products from 18 to 21 (the first state to do it)

An ER physician at Kohala Hospital, Green has helped to strengthen medical safeguards that led to the passage of the “Our Care, Our Choice Act,” Hawaii’s death with dignity bill in 2018, which legalized physician-assisted suicide. That bill made Hawaii the seventh state in the country to legalize physician-assisted suicide. The effort took 20 years to finally pass the Legislature and signed into law.

Another example that showed Dr. Green’s willingness to take on controversial issues is in the use of medical marijuana.

“As a doctor, I see extreme value in having medical marijuana available,” said Green.

In 2015, the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program of Hawaii was created that allowed qualified patients to use medical marijuana to treat health conditions.

On his website, he lists policies he calls prescription for a better future: a living wage, affordable healthcare, debt-free college, women’s rights, affordable housing, Native-Hawaiian rights, LGBTQ rights, real action on climate change, stronger pesticide restrictions and GMO labeling, and investing in public schools and hospitals.

Earlier this year, Green faced a tough primary election beating out other well-known Democrats. He captured 30.3 percent of the votes while the next closest challenger, Jill Tokuda, garnered 27.5 percent.

It was somewhat of an unusual LG primary in that large lobbyist money was thrown at top candidates. The super PAC, Be Change Now, financed by the Hawaii Regional Council of Carpenters, spent more than $1 million to support Green.

He told the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle, “I was honored to be supported by teachers, nurses, environmentalists, carpenters, doctors and families all across Hawaii. Ironically, I voted against the rail and its bailout because I preferred a better, smarter approach. Still, that group felt I was the best leader to endorse for our future.”

On the ballot with incumbent Gov. David Ige, Green told the Filipino Chronicle his top priorities.

“If I’m elected LG, I will work as a seamless partner to Governor Ige who I respect as a person and as a leader. My top 3 priorities include solving the homeless crisis, addressing the opioid/mental health epidemic and improving our public school system, first by retaining our valued teachers.

“As a physician I am very familiar with the best ways to address homelessness, mental illness and addiction.

“For the homeless crisis I have proposed and begun to build the H4, which is a combined hygiene, healthcare and housing facility, funded by private revenue so that tax payers do not bear any extra burden. When done well we will decrease the suffering of over 1000 homeless people and save over $400M/year.

“My plans for addressing the opioid epidemic include providing comprehensive drug treatment as primary care for all who need it. Care should exceed the current 30 days offered and will save many families.

“To retain teachers we should have a retention bonus after 2 years, 5 years and 10 years to repay all student debt and loans.”

When asked why Hawaii should continue voting Democrat, he said “the Democratic ticket is in line with Hawaii values such as caring for our keiki and Kapuna.”

He added, “The other candidates support Mr. Trump’s agenda which would leave many of our people behind, including 100,000 insured through Medicaid.

“The Trump agenda proposes eliminating protections for immigrants, takes away healthcare based on pre-existing conditions and defunds public schools and privatizes Social Security.

“I will always fight to protect immigrants (like my grandparents), personally provide healthcare when needed, fight for universal coverage, and fight to increase funds for classrooms. Social security tax should increase on the very rich to secure the program into the future.”

Green said, “the Trump administration has threatened to cut 43% of our safety net for families who need healthcare. I fight this daily. My opponents want to apply Trump values to Hawaii. I know that Trump values are not Hawaii values.”

Outside of politics, Green served in the National Health Corps in Kau on the Big Island for 4 years, founded a free homeless clinic in Chinatown, and founded the West Hawaii Community Health Center (employs 150 people now).

His wife is Jaime, an attorney originally from Kaneohe. They have two children Maia, 11, and Sam, 8.

When asked why the Filipino community should support his bid for LG, Green said, “I have spent my life caring for Hawaii families as a doctor, most often Filipino and Hawaiian families. I love the Filipino people and also many of my in-laws are Filipino. My opponent is against immigrants and has said blistering terrible things about our immigrant community, many of whom are Filipino.

“I care for Filipino families every week as a doctor and have worked very closely with care home professionals as a doc and as a Senator.”

 

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