Hawaii voters to decide who will lead state for next 4 years

Published 11-06-2018

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HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii voters go to the polls Tuesday to decide who will be their governor for the next four years.

The state's persistently high cost of housing has been a top issue for the candidates during the months-long campaign.

Andria Tupola, the 37-year-old Republican candidate for governor, said her party's internal polling shows cost of living is the greatest concern for 55 to 60 percent of voters. She said she's spoken to people who are leaving because they can't afford to stay in the state.

A recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition said a full-time worker in Hawaii must earn $36.13 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent of $1,879.

That hourly wage amounts to $75,158 a year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, average annual wages in Hawaii totaled $48,178 in 2016, 10.2 percent less than the U.S. average.

Gov. David Ige, who is running for re-election, said he hears similar concerns about housing and homelessness. Hawaii has the nation's highest homeless population per capita.

Tupola wants Hawaii residents to have priority in buying land, so they aren't priced out. She wants to decrease the length of time needed for builders to get permits.

Ige, 61, touted his administration's support of the construction of 5,300 homes during his first term and its goal to help build 10,000 units by 2020. He said Hawaii has allowed state money to cover a portion of infrastructure costs, clearing the way for more affordable rentals to be built.

Ige has an advantage because more voters tend to vote Democrat than Republican in Hawaii. Linda Lingle, who served from 2002 to 2010, was the state's last Republican governor.

The Republican Party is vastly outnumbered in legislative rac

Tupola wants Hawaii residents to have priority in buying land, so they aren't priced out. She wants to decrease the length of time needed for builders to get permits.

Ige, 61, touted his administration's support of the construction of 5,300 homes during his first term and its goal to help build 10,000 units by 2020. He said Hawaii has allowed state money to cover a portion of infrastructure costs, clearing the way for more affordable rentals to be built.

Ige has an advantage because more voters tend to vote Democrat than Republican in Hawaii. Linda Lingle, who served from 2002 to 2010, was the state's last Republican governor.

The Republican Party is vastly outnumbered in legislative races this year, contesting only five of the 13 state Senate seats and 17 of 51 House seats.

In congressional races, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono is seeking re-election against Republican Ron Curtis, a retired engineer.

Former U.S. Rep. Ed Case came out of retirement to run for House. The Democrat is running against Cam Cavasso, a Republican former state legislator. The seat is being vacated by Democratic U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who unsuccessfully challenged Ige for the Democratic Party's nomination for governor.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is seeking a fourth term in Congress representing rural Oahu and the Neighbor Islands. She's being challenged by Republican Brian Evans, a singer and songwriter.

Ige has an advantage because more voters tend to vote Democrat than Republican in Hawaii. Linda Lingle, who served from 2002 to 2010, was the state's last Republican governor.

The Republican Party is vastly outnumbered in legislative races this year, contesting only five of the 13 state Senate seats and 17 of 51 House seats.

In congressional races, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono is seeking re-election against Republican Ron Curtis, a retired engineer.

Former U.S. Rep. Ed Case came out of retirement to run for House. The Democrat is running against Cam Cavasso, a Republican former state legislator. The seat is being vacated by Democratic U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who unsuccessfully challenged Ige for the Democratic Party's nomination for governor.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is seeking a fourth term in Congress representing rural Oahu and the Neighbor Islands. She's being challenged by Republican Brian Evans, a singer and songwriter.

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