The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly today endorsed former congressman Ed Case in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, and former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann for Congress.
UHPA is the first prominent labor union to prefer Case over U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono.
“We believe Ed Case showed a seasoned perspective of the role of public higher education, and presented comprehensive solutions to challenges facing faculty,” Adrienne Valdez, UHPA board president, said in a statement. “He believes the federal government should not micromanage higher education and that standards and assessment should be left to faculty members.”
Many of the state’s top labor leaders have sought to build a united front behind Hirono. The Hawaii State AFL-CIO, the Hawaii Government Employees Association, and the Hawaii carpenters union are among the labor interests that have endorsed Hirono.
Case has struggled in previous campaigns to win support from union leaders, appealing instead to rank-and-file members.
Case and Hirono are competing to replace U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii. Former Gov. Linda Lingle and attorney and former state lawmaker John Carroll are running in the Republican primary.
UHPA also announced today that it was endorsing Hannemann for the 2nd Congressional District representing rural Oahu and the neighbor islands, the seat being vacated by Hirono. Also in the race is City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard, former Office of Hawaiian Affairs chief advocate Esther Kia’aina, Big Island attorney Bob Marx and Honolulu attorney Rafael del Castillo.
“The board of directors voted to support Hannemann’s candidacy because he brings a variety of life experiences that will enable him to hit the ground running and get things accomplished,” said Valdez. “His perspectives on education reform for higher education resonated well with us.”