UHPA Endorses Mayoral Candidate Rick Blangiardi

 

UHPA Endorses Rick Blangiardi for Honolulu Mayor

After carefully evaluating the needs of the University of Hawai‘i faculty and the vision of the two Honolulu mayoral candidates, the University of Hawai‘i Professional Assembly (UHPA) has decided to endorse Rick Blangiardi for mayor. The decision was based on the recommendation of UHPA’s political endorsement committee, which is composed of UH faculty.

UHPA regularly endorses candidates in gubernatorial and state legislative races, and typically has not endorsed mayoral candidates or those running in city or county races. The exceptions have been for Eileen Anderson and Jeremy Harris.

“We felt it was important to weigh in on this year’s mayoral race for the upcoming general election because there are great needs in the community as a result of the pandemic,” said Christian Fern, UHPA’s executive director. “The mayor has the ability to influence how effectively and efficiently O‘ahu recovers from the pandemic and becomes more resilient.”

Affordable housing was a major concern for faculty even before the pandemic, and now it is a top priority, especially since housing is key to recruiting and retaining faculty and ensuring the standards of quality instruction and research remain high at the UH.

Blangiardi has an affinity for the University of Hawai‘i. While he was a UH undergraduate in the mid-1960s, he served as linebacker with the Rainbow Warriors. He returned to Massachusetts with his mother and graduated from Springfield College. After serving in the U.S. Navy and being stationed at Pearl Harbor, he made Hawai‘i his home, and earned a master of arts degree in educational administration from the UH in 1973. He later served as a defensive coordinator and associate head coach for the Rainbow Warriors. He eventually changed careers to television, and was most recently general manager of Hawai‘i News Now.

After listening to both candidates, the political endorsement committee felt Blangiardi understood the needs of the faculty and the important role of unions. UHPA is proud to endorse Blangiardi for mayor.

Are you being counted in the 2020 Census?

It’s critical that we are all counted in the 2020 Census and right now it’s not looking very good for Hawaii – please see Congressman Ed Case’s letter received by UHPA below.  He has an important message and we’re encouraging all UHPA members to take the right action to make sure your household is counted in the 2020 Census.  Hawaii’s fair representation is depending on you!

I am reaching out to you, as a leader of Hawaii’s labor community, to ask for your full assistance and that of your own community in ensuring that our Hawai’i is fully counted in the 2020 Census, which is currently scheduled to conclude in just a few weeks on September 30th.

The Census, which our country has undertaken every ten years since 1790, is critical to our country and to each and all of us on several counts. First, it provides us with a regular update on how many and who we are to guide the best national policies. It also determines how many U.S. Representatives each state is designated and ensures that our overall population is as evenly distributed across our congressional district as possible.

Most critically and especially for a small state like Hawai’i, the Census guides the distribution of federal assistance across our country to our states and congressional districts. Hundreds of federal programs in critical areas like education, housing, health care, economic assistance, worker training, occupational safety and health, minority assistance and more depend on the Census statistics for where their federal assistance is directed. For our Hawai’i which receives billions of dollars in federal assistance annually, estimates are that each 1% of our population that is not counted results in over $16 million of lost federal funding. To make matters worse, often the communities that are undercounted are those in the most need of that federal assistance. All of this has been compounded with the dire needs of this COVID-19 pandemic, where trillions of dollars of federal emergency assistance have been distributed and will be distributed based on 2010 Census numbers (and from next year on 2020 Census numbers).

There are two basic stages to the 2020 Census count. In the first, Census responses from all households throughout our state are requested and welcomed voluntarily by phone or online. It is a very easy process that takes five to ten minutes per household. In the second stage, which began August 1st, voluntary responses continue but Census enumerators (counters) will attempt to visit every household that has not responded to take the count personally. Except in limited circumstances, the enumerators will not visit households that have already responded, so it is better and easier for everyone if households respond voluntarily by phone or online.

At present the last counting will be completed this September 30th and the 2020 Census will close. I believe this is way too early especially given COVID-19 and have urged an extension. But for now we must assume September 30th is the deadline. Best estimates now are that close to 40% of our households across our state are still not counted.

I ask for your kokua in taking the message to all of your members and their ‘ohana of the critical importance of a full Census count and asking everyone to do their part.

To assist with this effort to encourage participation in the 2020 Census, you can find a full list of all 2020 Census outreach materials at https://2020census.gov/en/partners/outreach-materials.html. Please feel free to use these however works best for you.

As English is a second language for so many among us in Hawai’i, I especially want to note that the 2020 Census is the first in our history to feature significantly expanded language access. Overall, the 2020 Census has provided language guides in 59 non-English languages, including full support in 12 of those languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. For the full set of language resources for this year’s Census, including print and video materials, please visit https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census/2020-census/planning-management/language-resources.html.

There are multiple ways to respond to the 2020 Census, but by far the easiest way is through the online form at https://my2020census.gov. For other ways to respond to the Census, such as by phone or mail, please visit https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond.html.

If you and any of your communities have any questions regarding the 2020 Census, please feel free to contact my staff for assistance. For Census related matters, you may reach my Washington office through Ben Chao at Ben.Chao@mail.house.gov or (202) 225-2726.

Thank you so much again for your dedication, consideration and assistance. I truly appreciate all that you can do to promote participation in the 2020 Census and all that you do for our community.

With aloha,

Congressman Ed Case

(Hawai’i-First District)

Political Action Fund Objection

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA) has an active Political Endorsement Committee that has participated in state & federal elections through political endorsements, contributions to candidates and independent expenditures on behalf of our endorsed candidates. The UHPA Board of Directors has taken action to allocate from the dues of all UHPA Active members an amount of $5.00 a month to be placed in a Political Action Fund. The Fund will be subject to the accounting requirements and used for purposes consistent with the Hawaii State Election and Federal Election laws.

Our policy allows Active members of UHPA to object to the $5.00 per month allocation to the Political Action Fund. This will not lower their total dues, but it will not add to the total amount of funds allocated for partisan political purposes with respect to candidate endorsements and contributions. If an Active member chooses to object to this funding, they will not be allowed to vote on any recommendation for candidate endorsements made by the Board of Directors.

The request to withhold funding from the Political Action account must be made each year.  If you do not wish to contribute to the “candidate endorsement” fund for fiscal year 2020-2021, then you must sign, date, and return an UHPA Allocation Objection Form by November 2, 2020.

The UHPA Board of Directors has taken this action in response to the strong feelings held by some members that the union should not participate in making candidate endorsements or political contributions. However, we believe it is essential for a public sector union to maintain a political presence since the fundamental work of our bargaining with the State of Hawaii is ultimately subject to legislative approval.

UHPA Announces 2020 Political Endorsements

UHPA’s Political Endorsements for 2020 have been published on our Candidate Endorsements page and we urge all UHPA members to support the relevant candidate in your districts.

Why you should support these candidates

UHPA has a strong and consistent presence in the State Capitol in the pursuit of issues important to our faculty and defense of the UHPA-BOR Collective Bargaining Agreement. The endorsed candidates are either friends of UHPA or for those not yet holding office, give us the confidence that they will be friends.  Your support of these endorsed candidates will strengthen UHPA’s position in all legislative matters.

Our endorsement process

The new Political Endorsement Committee met at the close of the Legislative Session to begin preparing for the second round of legislative endorsements. They began by establishing a questionnaire (member only access) that would be sent to all candidates requesting UHPA’s endorsement.  

Questions we asked

An email subsequently went out to all candidates who requested an endorsement with the questionnaire attached.  A followup email was sent to establish interview dates and times to be held during the week of July 13.  The candidates had approximately two weeks to review the questionnaire prior to the interview process. 

Interviews we held

The PEC deliberated on contested districts in which they interviewed more than one candidate for that district.  The PEC took every aspect of the interview into consideration prior to their decision.   It is important to note that UHPA has not always participated in every campaign in every House or Senate District throughout the years.

UHPA Endorses Rep. Richard Onishi, House District 3

UHPA continues to endorse Representative Richard Onishi.  Rep. Onishi continues to brings a vast array of knowledge regarding retaining and recruiting faculty, the importance of research funding and an understanding of the economic challenges that face our islands.  We appreciate the opportunity to work with Rep. Onishi.

UHPA Endorses Rep. Lisa Kitagawa, House District 48

UHPA is pleased to continue to endorse Rep. Kitagawa  She remains up-to-date on Labor issues that are before the Hawai‘i Labor Relations Board.  She understands the struggles of protecting Chapter 89 and demonstrates understanding of the issues pertaining to the University of Hawai‘i system confronting the UH faculty we represent.  Rep. Kitagawa’s background continues to serve her well as an advocate for UHPA and her community.  We are excited to endorse her.

UHPA Endorses Rep. Aaron Johanson, House District 31

Rep. Johanson is the Chair of Labor and Public Employment.  UHPA has found a strong advocate in Rep. Johanson.  He not only understands the issues but seeks to work with us in finding solutions.  The work he has advanced on behalf of the faculty demonstrates his understanding of the issues pertaining to the University of Hawai`i system and economic issues confronting UH and the UH faculty that we represent.  We have appreciated working with him over the years and look forward to many more.

UHPA Endorses Rep. Sylvia Luke, House District 25

Representative Luke is the Chair of the House Finance Committee.  UHPA has been fortunate to have a strong working relationship with Rep. Luke.  Her commitment to ensure the resources needed for faculty to further their work throughout all the campuses is of benefit to all.  Rep. Luke brings a vast array of knowledge and understanding of the issues on economic conditions pertaining to the University.  We look forward to a continuing strong working relationship with Rep. Luke.

UHPA Endorses Speaker of the House Scott Saiki, House District 26

Speaker of the House Saiki has been busy keeping UHPA informed on the issues before the House over the past two years.  He has continued to engage UHPA in conversations to provide input on important issues that impact faculty.  The work on behalf of the faculty demonstrates his understanding of the issues pertaining to the University of Hawai`i system and economic issues confronting UH and the UH faculty that we represent.  We have appreciated working with him over the years.

UHPA Endorses Senator Brian Taniguchi, Senate District 11

UHPA is pleased to announce continued support for Senator Brian Taniguchi.  Sen. Taniguchi Chairs the Labor Committe (LCA) and has provided extensive support for UHPA initiatives over the past few years.  We appreciate his open door and open communication policy.  His understanding of the issues challenging UH and his commitment of support is appreciated.  We look forward to more time together.