Wednesday, November 25, 2015         


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Smaller-town values rise to top


The Star-Advertiser completes its legislative endorsement series today with a look around the most rural piece of an otherwise urbanized island. It starts with the farmland-turned-subdivisions of Ewa and curves around the Waianae Coast through the North Shore communities - where the "keep the country, country" mantra still resounds.

» Senate District 20 (Ewa Beach-Waipahu): Democratic Sen. Will Espero should be re-elected to a third term in the Senate. He understands the need for jobs in his fast-growing communities and the importance of the rail transit system for getting to and from work. He supports state investment in affordable rentals and helping the homeless, and recognizes military spending and construction as key additions to the state's reliance on tourism. Republican challenger Anel Monte, a retired naval officer and now an analyst for a scientific consulting company, has leadership experience, but Espero's long community background is more suitable to representing his constituency.


Today is the last in a weeklong series of endorsements on state Legislature races. We reviewed candidates' backgrounds, civil rights positions, community involvement and ideas to propel the state forward. Incumbency was a factor, but not a rubber stamp. In a toss-up between the Democrat or Republican, we favored the loyal-opposition Republican.

» For last week's endorsements - governor, Congress and school board - see, Editorials section. For more on all candidates and the election, click on the website's "VOTE 2010" icon.

» To view candidates on video, see


» Senate District 22 (North Shore-Wahiawa): Having completed his two-term limit on the City Council, Donovan Dela Cruz began running for mayor this year but made the prudent choice instead to go after a Senate seat, representing many of the same communities of his Council district. Democrat Dela Cruz was raised in the Wahiawa area, is well-versed in marketing Hawaii's tourism and understands the needs shared by the city and state, including the growth of energy efficiency. Republican Charles Aki, a first-time candidate, has a business background but cannot compare with Dela Cruz's valuable experience.

» House District 42 (Waipahu-Honouliuli-Ewa): Incumbent Democrat Rida Cabanilla Arakawa faces a challenge from Republican Tom Berg, a member of the Ewa Neighborhood Board and community activist. Neither Berg nor Arakawa, who has served in the House since 2004, has a record of accomplishment that can support an endorsement.

» House District 43 (Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point): Republican incumbent Kymberly Pine, seeking her fourth term in the House, has been a reliably conservative voice. In the last legislative session, Pine voted against all tax increases and against House Bill 444, pointing out that her constituents are "overwhelmingly against" the legislation. While we don't always agree with Pine, her energetic advocacy for her district, along with her support for important issues like renewable energy and more local control of schools, make her deserving of re-election. She faces Democrat Jason Bradshaw, 27, the political director for the Hawaii State AFL-CIO.

» House District 45 (Waianae, Makaha, Makua): Voters should return Democrat Maile Shimabukuro to the House due to her broad-based experience over Republican competitor Jadeen Meyers. Shimabukuro has pushed for better educational opportunities, such as the planned improvement of the Leeward Community College satellite campus in Waianae, and projects such as turn lanes to alleviate traffic backups on Farrington Highway and enable possible contraflow lanes.

» House District 46 (Kahuku-North Shore-Schofield): This race gives voters a chance to bring a new face to the state Capitol. Republican Gil Riviere offers the best record of achievement as a community leader. His experience accrued well in advance of this race to succeed Michael Magaoay, whose former aide Larry Sagaysay is his Democratic opponent. Riviere gets the endorsement for his greater longevity in volunteer and civic engagement at the local level, adding a welcome pledge to work for fiscal restraint statewide. His work as a founder of Keep the North Shore Country and with other initiatives anchors him as an advocate for careful planning of development, a major concern in his district.

» 47th District (Kaneohe-Kahaluu-Laie): Democratic freshman incumbent Jessica Wooley is the Star-Advertiser's choice. Republican challenger Richard Fale, recently elected chairman of the Koolauloa Neighborhood Board, is building a record but is far outmatched by that of his competitor. Wooley's sponsorship of bills that make it easier to remove hazards on private property, advance the progress of the Kahana living park and promote cultivation of taro shows a responsiveness to community concerns that often become overwhelmed by the legislative process.

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