Maui News • October 5, 2014
Conversations with Mufi Hannemann are always interesting and informative.
On Thursday we had a conversation about his uphill campaign for governor of Hawaii on the Independent Party ticket.
To begin with, he acknowledged that recent polls show him trailing Democrat David Ige and Republican James Aiona badly. But, after a late start, he senses momentum beginning for his campaign.
“Besides,” Hannemann said, “when I first ran for mayor of Honolulu, I never led any poll. In fact, even on Election Day, I didn’t take the lead until the final printout.”
Hannemann believes that most people are independent thinkers whether they are registered as Democrats, Republicans or nonaffiliated. The former mayor said the majority studies issues objectively, not ideologically.
“Our challenge is to get these independent thinkers to vote independently, too.”
Hannemann thinks his experience both in the private sector and as Honolulu mayor gives him executive experience his rivals for governor lack. He also points out that most citizens in Hawaii view the last two governorships as disasters.
“After a good start, Linda (Lingle) had a terrible second term. David’s (Ige) victory shows what the voters thought of Neil (Abercrombie). We’ve tried a Republican, we’ve tried a Democrat, it’s time to try something else.”
The former mayor said he believes a chance to fix the Hawaii health care system was missed in the last session of the Legislature. He said private, nonprofit Hawaii health care providers were clamoring for a chance to partner with Hawaii Health Systems Corp. A bill that would have allowed a public-private partnership never got out of committee.
Hannemann said he has had past success in bringing all sides to the conversation – administrators, labor, the public – to solve problems. He said he will take that collaborative approach to fix HHSC.
He pledged that he would form a leadership council composed of the four mayors and the governor to make sure all of Hawaii has a say in important decisions. He said it was time to get away from a top-down approach to government.
“Five heads are better than one.”
Hannemann also pledged that he would work to pressure utilities to use renewables – solar, wind and geothermal – for fuel to bring electricity prices down.
We left Thursday’s meeting believing Hannemann is the leader Hawaii needs next. But it will be a huge uphill battle.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.