State Sen David Ige, a 27-year veteran of the Legislature and chairman of the powerful Senate Ways and Means Committee the past two years, announced he would challenge Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary for governor.
“As my family and I contemplated whether to run for Governor, we spoke with many friends and neighbors. Through those conversations, I realized that people here in Hawaii are hungry for a governor they can believe in and trust,” Ige (D, Pearl Harbor-Pearl City-Aiea) said in a news release. “The citizens of Hawaii continue to face serious issues.
“We need to strengthen and diversify our economy, improve education, and re-engineer government to better serve the people. It is time for real and enduring solutions to ensure that we are taking the right steps to create opportunities for our children and future generations.”
William Kaneko, Abercrombie’s campaign manager, welcomed Ige into the race.
"Voters will have an opportunity to hear and evaluate both candidates’ respective legislative and executive experiences, track records and philosophies. Elections are all about choices. That is the democratic process, and voters will have a chance to engage with the candidates on critical issues that face all of us," Kaneko said in a statement.
"Under Gov. Abercrombie’s strong leadership, the state’s fiscal situation is stabilized, the economy is growing, and the residents of Hawaii are enjoying a period of prosperity and optimism. He has brought in and supported a new generation of political leadership in Hawaii, and we are fully committed to his reelection in 2014."
Ige, 56, has represented the Pearl City-Aiea Senate district since 1994, after previously serving eight years in the state House of Representatives.
As of December, Ige had reported raising $73,750 for his 2014 Senate campaign and reported in April that he was holding a May fundraiser also for Senate. Abercrombie already has raised $1.3 million for his re-election bid.
Prior to his stint as ways and means chairman, Ige served previously as Majority Floor Leader and chairman other Senate committees including health; intergovernmental affairs; science, arts and technology; economic development and technology; education and technology; commerce, consumer protection and information technology; and higher education, culture and the arts.
Ige also serves as a member of several advisory councils including the Hawaii Educational Networking Consortium; Waimano Ridge Task Force; Access Hawaii Committee Board; Mental Health Transformation State Incentive Grant Working Group; and, the Aiea/Pearl City Neighborhood Transit-Oriented Development Plan Advisory Committee, according to a biography on his state legislative web page.
Ige and his wife, Dawn, have three children. He is a graduate of Pearl City High School with graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of Hawaii.
Richard Borreca contributed to this report.