The primary election is today, and it is important that all eligible voters get out and vote.
Each election season, the Chamber of Maui Political Action Committee endorses candidates for the general election. However, with three state races where current Maui representatives who are Democrats had a challenger who is also a Democrat, the committee elected to review these races early this year to make a recommendation in the primary election.
These races are: House District 9, House District 11 and House District 13.
All those running were invited to an interview with the committee, and they were informed that they must meet with it to be considered for an endorsement. Those who chose to participate were asked to respond to the following questions and scored based on their answers.
We asked them questions on: fiscal responsibility, education, business-friendly environments, the Affordable Care Act, independent contractors, taxes and tort reform.
Here is what transpired with each race:
House District 9 (Kahului, Puunene, Maui Lani and Old Sand Hills). Democratic Rep. Justin Woodson is running against Democrat James "Kimo" Apana. Both candidates met with the committee.
House District 11 (South Maui). Rep. Kaniela Ing faces a Democratic primary challenge from Marie Minichino. Whoever wins the primary goes on to face Libertarian Pat Brock. Ing confirmed but did not show up for his interview and therefore could not be considered for a committee endorsement. He was contacted several times prior to the interview with confirmation and reminder emails and calls made. He emailed us saying that he put the wrong date in his calendar. We thanked him for his explanation and informed him that we were not able to reconvene the committee prior to the primary and therefore would have to make a decision based on the interviews held that day. Both of his challengers met with the committee.
House District 13 (East Maui, Molokai and Lanai). Democratic Rep. Mele Carrol was hesitant to agree to an interview because she said that the chamber said committee members were "too tired" to take her call in a previous year. Committee members had a different recollection, remembering taking the time to interview her but that it was a shorter interview because she wasn't feeling well. We received no response to follow-up attempts. Therefore, an email was sent June 30 to let her know that it was our understanding she was not interested in an interview and therefore would be unable to receive a committee endorsement. Her Democratic challenger, Barbara Haliniak, declined an interview, noting that she is running a grass-roots campaign and was not interested in endorsements.
Given this, our endorsements for these races are:
House District 9 - James "Kimo" Apana. As a businessperson and former Maui County Council member and mayor, he well understood the issues, had strong and favorable business responses to the questions above and came with an excellent plan to help improve our state. In addition, he brings the name you know and the long-standing partnership we enjoyed in the past.
House District 11 - Marie Minichino. She is a knowledgeable businesswoman who does her homework and is willing to challenge the way things are, even in her own profession. She comes with a deep desire to improve education, and it was clear she is ready to work on matters that need to be addressed.
House District 13 - No endorsement was made.
Please take these recommendations with you to the polls and vote in these "business-friendly" candidates this election.
* Pamela Tumpap is president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce.