(BIVN) – Emergency Room doctor, family physician, and state senator Josh Green spent a little time with the people of Puna recently.
Green, serving Hawaii Island’s third senatorial district (Ka’u & South Kona), says he plans to seek higher office in next year’s election; most likely, it will be a run for lieutenant governor. Green joined his political ally, State Senator Russell Ruderman, for the pubic talk story in Pahoa on June 27.
“He’s one of the good guys in my opinion,” Ruderman said when introducing Green to the crowd at the Pahoa Community Center. “What Josh has always done is told me the truth. And another thing that Josh has done has been incredibly bold and brave in standing up for what’s right. Sometimes at great political cost.”
But Hilo resident Shannon Matson said she has concerns about the field of candidates who may be seeking the lieutenant governor position.
“It’s not a bad thing to have too many good choices,” Matson said, “but it’s scary to me to have Senator Will Espero considering that lieutenant governor’s position – I believe he’s already declared – and then Representative Kaniela Ing is also considering. I am a little afraid of people that are doing good work – already elected to their position – opening up their seat for someone else to run in seeking higher office.”
“Kaniela won’t run,” Green answered. Green said he spoke to the young Representative from Maui. “Kaniela is a little young right now. Literally young. I don’t mean too young for serving. But you have to be thirty years old and he told me that he’s not, yet.”
“Will Espero’s a dear friend of mine,” Green continued, saying that “at the end of the day, he and I will talk about this. I can give you some relative assurances that Will and I won’t be running against each other.”
“I have some lucky advantages,” Green said. “I made a decision a year ago that I was going to run for higher office and I’ve been planning and waiting for the right strategy to come into play so I could actually do the job right.”
“I’ve also spent 12 years fundraising – steadily – and I’m ready,” Green continued. “I have enough resources to run a full statewide race. Its a luxury I have, so I can do it right. So that special interests cannot get their hooks in me.”
Matson also put Green on the spot about a successor to the senate seat.
Green sees the three likely candidates as County Councilman Dru Kanuha, Representative Nicole Lowen, and Representative Richard Creagan. He had positive remarks about each person.
“Sometimes I like the idea of someone coming out of left field that is totally new and doesn’t feel beholden in any way shape or form,” Green said. “But I will tell you, it’s really hard to get elected – unless you’re a natural food magnate or a doctor – out of nowhere,” in obvious reference to himself and Ruderman, who began the successful Island Naturals market.