Text from Randy Iwase's Announcement
February 27, 2006
My name is Randy Iwase, I am running for governor of this beautiful state of Hawaii.
41 years ago I was a student here at Kaimuki High School. I am a product of our public school system and I owe a debt of gratitude to the generation who came before us for having the courage and vision to change Hawaii and to make possible the life I have today.
Here at Kaimuki High, you saw the uniqueness of our island community. We spoke pidgin-English. We had students named Mau, Aquino, Park, Freitas, Shaner and Iwase. We interacted and we were friends.
Here we dreamt about our future. We dreamt about college, getting a decent job, buying a house and raising a family.
Today, just four decades later, students still dream but they are confronted by the harsh realities of the present. They are being priced out of paradise.
When Jan and I were married in 1977, buying a home was a realistic dream. Our first home was $87,000. We had a salary that made it possible to buy the home we dreamt about and to raise a family. Like other families, we struggled but we managed.
Today there is a disconnect. The median price on Oahu to buy a home is $550,000. Only the very rich can buy. It is out of reach for the average worker, for the two-income family, for those who hold 2-3 jobs just to make ends meet.
The median rental cost for a single-family home is $2,204. Again out of reach for our people.
The Republican incumbent has an awful record that does not merit another four years in office.
She is handicapped by the Bush Republican view that government should remain passive and support corporate conglomerates. That's good for her because it gets her a lot of campaign money-from here and from the mainland.
But her administration has become nothing more than a huge public relations firm. The governor has slick ads and press releases, making promises that are unfulfilled.
That is not what a governor should be.
Our campaign will expose the pesky realities behind public relations and will show the fundamental differences between an Iwase governership and the Republican incumbent.
In the words of the great Republican Calvin Coolidge, "The business of America is business."
For Republicans like George Bush and Linda Lingle, this is the agenda-"the business of America is business"-big business. Government is "a necessary evil" and has no role other than to not interfere with big businesses.
I disagree with that limited, restricted, myopic view of government. I believe that government must act on behalf of the people. That government is a force for justice. That government must, for example, stand up for the people against big oil companies and their rising gas prices and big corporate conglomerates on behalf of our people and behalf of small businesses.
Just as the 1954 Democrats took on the Big 5, today we must stand up to these huge conglomerates who have little regard for high prices and its impact on people or it's impact on small businesses like "mom and pop" stores.
It is Democrats who enacted Social Security, Medicare, the Civil Rights Act, and federal aid to education. Here locally, Democrats overthrew the Republican oligarchy and government expanded opportunities for people with fair and progressive taxes, universal and free education for our children and decent minimum wages. We were and still are guided and driven by the goals of Equality, Fairness and Opportunity.
We have a Republican President and, in Hawaii, a Republican governor who talks like a Democrat but governs like a Bush Republican. Is it any wonder that the Bush Republican mantra of small government is consistently repeated while the "wealth gap" between the very rich and the rest of us grows? As the gap between the cost of even a modest home and the salaries paid to us to buy a home grows?
When you believe, as do Republicans like Bush and Lingle, that government can do nothing more than sit while their corporate friends engage in a so-called "free market" competition then we have nothing more than a government and a governor who doesn't govern on behalf of the people. We have nothing more than "flavor of the month" issues and slick public relations announcements.
There is a real, significant and fundamental difference between myself and the Republican incumbent.
From my Democratic roots and values, from Democratic governors like John Burns and George Ariyoshi I believe that a governor must act to help our people. Like Governor Burns, I believe that it is not enough to just take a stand. The governor must act to make things work. This is not the guiding light for the incumbent.
Unlike Governor Lingle, it is not enough to:
Raise the issue of education the first year of your term and then drop it
Raise "ice" as an issue the second year of your term and drop it - it was page 14 of her 17 page speech from her last State of the State address
Raise the issue of homelessness and affordable housing in just the final year of your term
Beyond "flavor of the month," where is the commitment, where is the follow through, where is the sincerity to govern and achieve results?
We are living in the new age of technology and information. We live in a fragile island community with limited resources.
I want our beloved Hawaii to have a first rate education system where our children are taught to think critically so that they can compete in the "Information Age." The Republican incumbent's so called education reform rhetoric of 7 more school boards and her inability or unwillingness to provide full funds for our schools won't do the job.
When you are handcuffed by the belief that government is not a good thing, you cannot act as governor. I am not blinded by that misguided view and I am not afraid to take bold measures.
We must provide all necessary funds to repair and renovate our schools; pay our teachers and school principals and support staff the salaries they deserve; fund training programs and mentoring programs so our school staff can do the business of Hawaii - Educating our Children. All of this the Democrats began under Act 51 which the Republican incumbent opposed. More must be done. But there is no vision from the Republican incumbent.
I want a Hawaii where our people are paid a decent wage that will allow them to rent a home or to buy a home so they can continue to live here.
The recommendations of the Joint Legislative Housing and Homeless Task Force must be enacted.
Additionally, as governor I will take action to identify land where affordable homes can be built; work with counties to require development of affordable homes during the permit process, pursue the concept of redevelopment of the urban core to provide affordable housing; work with developers on cost sharing for infrastructure to help reduce the cost of homes and rentals.
Recognizing that we are a fragile island society far away from other places I want our Hawaii to be guided by the concept of "managed growth" which recognizes the need to preserve and protect our physical beauty, our land and our water resources and to provide for a degree of self-sufficiency.
We should be at the forefront in developing new industries which means jobs and better pay for our people in such fields as agriculture and agricultural research; alternate energy - hydrogen, bio-fuel, OTEC, wind energy; waste disposal; bio-tech research; and even a sports industry.
We are uniquely located in the Pacific. With our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural people we are well positioned to be a player of the Age of the Pacific. Let us act so we can do so.
All of this requires the governor and the government of our people to act - to be innovative, unafraid and bold.
If you are constrained by the Republican views of Bush and Lingle that government is bad and must be handcuffed then you cannot act to provide needed support for our schools, help our people rent or buy affordable homes, to generate ideas or to initiate programs or policies to propel forward the development of new, clean and needed industries in Hawaii.
And we all lose.
If you believe the Republican mantra that the "business of America is big business," then government sits on its hands until an Enron or a World.com falls, or when a corporate conglomerate opts out of pension funds, which destroys the hopes and dreams of our working people. Only then do the Republicans react because it is a political necessity.
The first three words of the Constitution of the United States are "we the people." Not, as the Bush/Lingle Republicans believe, "We the Big Businesses."
Unlike the Republican incumbent, I believe that the governor and the government of the people have the duty to insure Equality, Opportunity and Fairness. This has been and continues to the guiding principle of Democrats.
Hubert Humphrey once said, "the moral test of government is how it treats those in the dawn of life - our children; those in the twilight of life - the aged; those in the shadows of life - the sick, the needy and the handicapped."
This will be the guiding principle of an Iwase administration.