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.”