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HGEA endorses Schatz for Senate

By Derrick DePledge

LAST UPDATED: 5:39 p.m. HST, Jun 15, 2013

The Hawaii Government Employees Association has endorsed U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz over U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, an early lift that could help propel his campaign.

The union’s board, meeting on Maui, agreed unanimously Friday to support Schatz after previously interviewing both Democrats. The union said Schatz is down to earth, expresses middle-class values, understands the challenges many working people have in raising young families, and vows to protect Social Security and Medicare.

Randy Perreira, the HGEA’s executive director, said the union believes both candidates are equally capable and friends of labor, but that Schatz empathized more with the issues working people are facing.

“For us, very difficult choice, but we feel that Brian is the choice that Hawaii should make for the future,” Perreira said.

The HGEA is the state’s largest public-sector labor union with more than 42,000 active and retired members.

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