POSTED: 5:32 p.m. HST, Jul 6, 2012
A Las Vegas-based veterans group with chapters in six states, including Hawaii, is backing incumbent Mayor Peter Carlisle in his upcoming race against challengers Kirk Caldwell, the former city managing director, and former Gov. Ben Cayetano.
The Hawaii chapter of Veterans in Politics International announced its endorsement Friday.
Carlisle was the only one of the candidates to accept an invitation to appear before a panel of the Hawaii chapter.
“If the others weren’t interested in our endorsement, that’s fine,” said Dennis Egge, Hawaii chapter president.
The panel, which met last week at Fleet Reserve Association Branch 46 Headquarters, included Egge, former GOP Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona, members Calvin Griffin and Tom Ocasek and Nick Starling, VIPI chief executive officer.
“We felt his answers inspired us to think that he was really serious about the veterans in the community,” Egge said Friday. “Especially for the ones that are homeless and they’re having a bad time some of them — he wants to help them and I really believe that he will work to improve their quality of life.”
In addition to Hawaii, VIPI has chapters in Florida, New York, California, Texas, Missouri and American Samoa, said Steve Sanson, the organization’s president.
Carlisle also has been endorsed by the Hawaii Carpenters Union, the Hawaii Masons Union and the Hawaii Sheet Metal Workers Union.
Caldwell has picked up the majority of endorsements from labor unions, including two of the largest public worker unions, the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers.
Cayetano’s endorsements include the Honolulu Fire Department Retirees Association.