POSTED: 8:46 a.m. HST, Jul 10, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 10:04 p.m. HST, Jul 10, 2014
Gov. Neil Abercrombie offered a strenuous defense of his first term in a debate on Thursday night, while state Sen. David Ige insisted there has been a lack of leadership from Washington Place.
Abercrombie described an administration that has presided over an economic turnaround after the recession. But Ige, the governor's Democratic primary opponent, complained of poor execution by the executive branch that is holding the state back.
Ige said that, as a legislator, he has "spent many years passing good policy and I've been disappointed the last four years about the execution. There have been so many priorities that we've talked about and we've funded that just has not happened."
Abercrombie countered that the difference is "that it's one thing to look at a problem. It's one thing to talk about a problem. But you have to act on it. And leadership means action. And we've taken action in all of these areas."
Ige, who is still unknown to many voters, rejected the idea that he was taking advantage of the governor's low job approval ratings and running on an "Anybody But Abercrombie" platform.
"Absolutely not," he said, maintaining that "there has been a lack of leadership in many, many instances."
The one-hour debate, moderated by Hawaii News Now's Tannya Joaquin, was sponsored by Hawaii News Now and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. It was the second -- and final -- debate between Abercrombie and Ige scheduled to air on television before the Aug. 9 primary.