October 19, 2010 – Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Video by David Corrigan | Voice of Karin Stanton
The debate over fiscal responsibility between gubernatorial candidates Neil Abercrombie and Duke Aiona in Kona was more than enough to keep a crowd of 500 glued to their Kealakehe High cafeteria seats for an hour and half on Monday evening.
Abercrombie, a Democrat and former Congressman, took the fight to Aiona, challenging the Republican Lt. Governor on the perceived shortfalls of the Linda Lingle administration over the last 8 years. Aiona was quick to fire back, however, that the deficit spending common in a Democrat controlled Washington is not the answer in Hawaii. Both candidates stood firm in their positions and attacked their opponent’s fiscal governing philosophies.
Forum moderator Sherry Bracken, news reporter for Hawaii Public Radio and host of the LAVA 105.3 fm, was joined by Gina Mangieri, KHON2 reporter. KHON2 will be airing segments of the forum on a Wednesday broadcast. The two had to quiet down the passionate audience on numerous occasions. It was, at times, a nasty back and forth between Aiona and Abercrombie, as their campaigns ramp up for the final sprint to the November 2nd finish line.
The candidates waged war over the greater issue of fiscal responsibility. Abercrombie – fresh off an official endorsement by President Barack Obama – hammered Aiona on the perceived lack of infrastructure improvements at airports and harbors. Aiona fired back on Abercrombie over education, and whether or not the school board should be appointed by the governor or elected.
The Aiona team was critical of Abercrombie’s position – or change in position – in an email blast immediately following the forum. “He flip-flopped again”, the message said, “to say, after being asked a second time in one night, that he supports the ballot proposal for an appointed school board. This latest flip-flop comes on the heels of a news conference Duke and Lynn held to point to our opponent’s inability to show he is willing or able to stand up for education reform. ”
The candidates even found a way to bicker over common ground issues, like the agreed need for clean and renewable energy alternatives. Aiona hung his hat on the “unprecedented” Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative, while Abercrombie accused the administration of moving too slow.
As for agriculture: The two candidates had very different views on the Linda Lingle administrations’ leadership. Aiona praised the start of the effort to identify important ag lands, while Abercrombie said the ag inspector layoffs was unconscionable.
Wrapping up the night, when the candidates had the chance to ask eachother questions directly, one topic was at the forefront… Furloughs.
Big Island Video News will have more from the forum in the coming day.