Sierra Club, UHPA, HGEA Announce NotPono Campaign
Palace, HI – The Sierra
Club, University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, and Hawaii Government
Employees Association have united together to challenge some of the myths put
out by the Chong campaign in the House District 48 race in Windward O’ahu.
“We want to make sure voters can make an informed decision,” said
Randy Perreira, Executive Director of HGEA. “Although our respective
organizations represent different interests, we all believe candidates should
be selected based on their actual record, and not half-truths and blatant
Over the past three weeks, numerous mailers have been sent out by the Pono Chong
campaign. The inundation of mailers could mislead voters to think Pono Chong’s
voting record is stronger then it actually is, particularly on environmental,
education, and economic issues.
“We’ve put together a website, NotPono.org, that attempts to distinguish Pono
Chong’s campaign rhetoric from his actual voting record,” said Robert D.
Harris, Director of the Hawaii Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Voters should
be able to select candidates based on their actual conduct, and not Pono
Chong’s wishful thinking.”
Campaign ads and statements by Chong’s campaign suggest he’s been protective of
Hawaii’s environment and opposed big development. “A lie,” said
Harris. “That’s what we call a child who makes up a story that is opposite
to the truth. And that’s what Chong is doing here. He’s consistently attempted
to undermine existing environmental regulations to allow for greater
development. For example, he supported the Public Lands Development
Corporation, which would turn over public land to private developers, and voted
to remove zoning and height restrictions near all rail and bus transfer
“Simply stated, Pono Chong has not voted to keep the country,
country,” said Harris.
Pono Chong also claims to have helped end Furlough Fridays in our public
schools. “When more than half the members of the Legislature signed on to
set aside money to prevent Furlough Fridays from ever beginning, Pono Chong
refused,” said Dennis Vanairsdale, Chair of the Political Endorsement
Committee of UHPA. “Seven months and 17 Furlough Fridays later, the
legislature finally acted to end Furlough Fridays – after students and teachers
had already suffered through the school year.”
Pono Chong also claims to support clean energy. “Approximately 20% of
construction jobs last year — during one of the worst recessions in Hawaii’s
history — were in the solar industry,” said Colleen Soares, a Sierra Club
member and District 48 voter. “And yet, instead of working with the
Abercrombie administration and the solar industry to figure out a way to ensure
long-term growth, he was the lead proponent of a proposal to gut the incentives
driving the solar industry.”
The Sierra Club/HGEA/UHPA Coalition is committed to notifying their respective
members in the district and using Facebook to direct people to the NotPono.org website.
“This is a unique and
historic gathering of different groups,” said Perreira. “But the
intent of this coalition is simply to ensure people can find out the truth.
That’s something this election sorely needs.”