Thursday, November 8, 2007

Three Governors

Wayne Yoshioka from Hawaii Public Radio filed this story on the appearance last weekend of our three former Democratic Governors. For political history junkies, it was a rare treat to see them at once on the same stage - together these men led our state for nearly 30 years, from 1974 - 2002. Each were the first of their ethnic group to be elected Governor of Hawaii. Each rose in elected office from the State Legislature to Lt. Governor and then Governor. Highly recommend that you listen to the podcast, but here are some highlights:

Photo: Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Left to right: Governors Ben Cayetano, John Waihee and George Ariyoshi

On the Democratic majority state legislature:

Ariyoshi: We're a big party. We encourage different thoughts and opinions. And that's what’s got to happen at the state legislature. We should not expect compliance with a particular train of thought.

Waihee: I was with a bunch of young people, and they were talking about how nice they were because they were getting along with the Democratic legislators, and I said, "You know that's wonderful, but when I was your age, I was trying to beat those guys. I wanted to kick them out of office. I was there trying to make revolution." Isn't there any young people in this world who want to overthrow the system anymore?

Cayetano: When I started in 1974, one of the things that I realized was that this is going to end one day, and while I'm in it, I'm going to do everything that I think should be done, and say everything that I think should be said. That's not happening today. The leadership, as far as I'm concerned, in the legislature is weak.

Later, Majority Leader Kirk Caldwell responded: In the end, it's more than party. Today, here, in this convention room, we can be partisan, and we can talk tough, but when we leave the room and go out as elected officials, we have to worry about the broader good.

Critical issues for the future:

Ariyoshi: At one time, the homeless in Hawaii were people who came from California who looked for the opportunity to camp on the beaches for a few days. Today, the homeless people are our own people, people who have jobs, who have families, who have children, and can't pay for a place to rent.

Cayetano: There's such an imbalance in the service type jobs to the rest of the job market here. And my own view is that someone needs to really take a good look at how many hotels we're going to allow to be built here. Ever since sugar and pineapple went out, they've been replaced by a new plantation, and that plantation is the hotel industry.

Waihee: One of the most important issues is how we co-exist with each other. And that issues like native Hawaiian rights, like the homeless, bring with them the potential for divisiveness. And I think that the next ten years we're going to see more stress placed on that ideal more than ever before.

Democratic nominee for President:

Ariyoshi: On this particular issue, I don't want to influence anybody. And I think I prefer to keep my support, at least at this point, very personal, and give the people an opportunity to express themselves and make a selection.

Waihee: Well, everybody is going to assume, and they're right, that I'm supporting Hillary Clinton. That's who I support!

Cayetano: I'm supporting Obama. But you know, whoever the Democratic nominee is, I'm going to strongly support that person too.

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