UHPA Endorses Green for Governor and Luke for Lt. Governor

University of Hawaii Professional Assembly Faculty Members Adopt a New Approach to Endorsements for Governor and Lieutenant Governor

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA), the union that represents about 3,200 faculty at all 10 University of Hawai‘i campuses statewide, is approaching its endorsements for governor and lieutenant governor differently this year. The union today announced it is endorsing Joshua Green for governor and Sylvia Luke for lieutenant governor.

“The role of the lieutenant governor has significantly evolved thanks in large part to the trailblazing work of Lt. Gov. Josh Green. He has definitely set a new bar for his successors,” said Christian Fern, UHPA executive director. “Our faculty members recognized they could no longer do endorsements as usual.”

Fern said in conducting assessments of all the candidates for both governor and lieutenant governor, UHPA’s Political Endorsement Committee, which is composed of faculty members, realized it was not enough to evaluate the candidates on their individual merits alone.

“The faculty looked at how candidates in both offices could function as an effective team. They

still paid careful attention to their leadership experience, track records of support for the UH, their grasp of the role of faculty and public higher education in our state, and their vision for the University of Hawai‘i as an economic engine of the state,” he said. “But they also looked at chemistry — whether their leadership styles would be complementary and if they could work together to move our state forward.”

“Hawai‘i has an opportunity to change the way our state is led,” Fern said. “We need a governor who can keep the big picture in mind and offer the latitude to a lieutenant governor to also lead and not be stifled. We can no longer afford to have a governor and lieutenant governor who are at odds with each other.”

UHPA welcomed each of the candidates to its headquarters for two separate endorsement announcements to accommodate the schedules of the candidates and faculty members. The following are excerpts from Fern’s remarks:

Quotes about Josh Green:

“Josh Green knows that the UH faculty have brought in nearly half a billion to our state at a time when the state was struggling economically from the impact of the pandemic. Rather than try to stymie those efforts, he would like to support the faculty to double their contribution to a billion dollars a year. This is the kind of visionary thinking our state needs.

“He’s attuned to the challenges faculty face. Josh Green sees the value of having a diverse Board of Regents for better governance. Autonomy is also important to him. Micromanagement and meddling have been the underlying themes in this legislative session, but Josh Green understands that government needs to step out of the way for the UH to flourish. This is a refreshing breath of fresh air that is badly needed.

“He believes the UH is an extension of the governor, and that we must work hand-in-hand. He would like to see faculty claim their rightful place as thought leaders in our community and have a say in government improvement.”

Quotes about Sylvia Luke:

“With her 10 years of experience as chair of the House Finance Committee, she knows how to get things done. That is the kind of leader we need for our state.

“So often, there has been dissension between the governor and legislature, and this prevented important initiatives from moving forward. We believe this can end with Sylvia serving as the bridge between the Governor’s office and the legislature. For once, we can expect there to be more collaboration and a more productive relationship.

“As a product of the University of Hawai‘i, Sylvia has a special affinity for the UH, and wants to elevate the UH to its rightful place. She has personally seen how the Senate has attempted to dismantle and diminish the role of the UH, and how the House has had to undo many of the bills proposed by the Senate.

“With more grants for research, she sees the potential for the UH to contribute much more to our state and create new economic opportunities. She told us it is the responsibility of the legislature to advance the entire University of Hawai‘i system, including the community colleges.”

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UHPA Endorses David Tarnas, House District 7

With your support UHPA believes David Tarnas will be the next representative for House District 7.  He is a former UH Sea Grant Extension Agent for West Hawai‘i.  He currently serves as an environmental planner on projects for harbors, farms, fishponds and forest plantations.  He is knowledgable in the areas of scientific research facilities and renewable energy projects.  He has served the community in various positions from AYSO to Waimea Community Theater.  David’s vast experiences and knowledge will be a valuable support UHPA faculty and House District 7.

UHPA Endorses Dale Kobayashi, House District 23

UHPA is pleased to endorse Dale Kobayashi for House District 23.  In the 2016 election cycle Dale came within 71 votes of ousting the incumbent, this cycle the incumbent chose not to even run for re-election.  The seat is now vacant and there are five candidates vying to represent House District 23.  UHPA PEC had an opportunity to speak with each of the candidates through different venues.  We were able to narrow the final interview process down to the top two and then after two rounds of interviews the recommendations was to continue support for Dale.  He continues to be involved in the community; chairing the neighborhood board.  He has retired as a full time career in the financial arena but has kept his finger on the pulse of Hawai‘i finances and is ready to improve the minimum wage, health fund and take on the tough funding issues facing UHPA and UH.

UHPA Endorses Jarrett Keohokalole, Senate District 24

UHPA believes Jarrett will be a strong Senator for UHPA, advocating on behalf of faculty.  Jarrett has demonstrated his knowledge of our issues as a member of the House of Representatives, representing House District 48.  Jarrett is a graduate of the UH William S. Richardson School of Law and focused his work on invasive species policy for DLNR.  He fully understands the need for grants to further the important work that UH provides Hawai‘i as well as obtaining and retaining the best and brightest faculty.  UHPA is pleased to endorse Jarrett Keohokalole for Senate District 24.

UHPA Endorses Lisa Kitagawa, House District 48

Lisa Kitagawa is another newcomer to the Legislature and UHPA is pleased to endorse her.  Although new to the elected side of the legislative process, Lisa has been working at the legislature for Representative Aaron Johnson, Chair of the Labor Committee. Previously Lisa spent 15 years working in various positions at UH and as a member of UHPA; form  CTAHR to Leadership Development and as an APT.  Lisa’s time with UH provided her with insight to the needs of UHPA faculty in areas of facilities, recruitment, retention and grant funding.  Lisa is also up-to-date on Labor issues that are before the Hawai‘i Labor Relations Board.  She understands the struggles of protecting Chapter 89 with the Janus case just around the corner.  Lisa’s background will serve her well as an advocate for UHPA and her community.  We are excited to endorse Lisa for House District 48.

UHPA Endorses Scot Matayoshi, House District 49

UHPA endorses another newcomer to the legislative process, Scot Matayoshi, House District 49.  Scot is currently an Associate at the law firm of Schlack Ito.  Scott received his law degree from the University of Hawai‘i’s William S. Richardson School of Law.  He also taught science at Nanakuli Middle School and continues his involvement in education as the President of the Malama Honua Public Charter School Foundation.  Scot enjoys serving his community on the Neighborhood Board, VP of the Kaneohe Christmas Parade and member of the Ko‘olaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club.  In his spare time he relaxes at the dojo where he is a blackbelt.  Scot’s background made him an ideal candidate for House District 49, he knows his community well and as a graduate of UH Law School and practicing attorney he has a unique perspective and understanding of the legal issues Janus will have on the UHPA faculty.