East Hawaii News

Sierra Club Makes Endorsements in Aug. 9 Primary

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The Sierra Club has announced its endorsements in 40 races in the upcoming primary elections.

The club endorsed US Sen. Brian Schatz in his run for the special election to fill out the remaining two years of the term of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye.

At the time lieutenant governor, Schatz was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to the post following Inouye’s death in December 2012.

US Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is challenging Schatz for the Senate seat in the Aug. 9 Democratic primary.

Another election will be held in 2016 with the winner of that race serving a six-year term.


In other federal elections, the Sierra Club endorsed incumbent Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in the race for the Second Congressional District, which is comprised of rural Oahu and the neighbor islands.

State Rep. K. Mark Takai was endorsed for the First Congressional District seat being vacated by Hanabusa.

In the statewide Office of Hawaiian Affairs races, it endorsed Mahealani Wendt for the seat requiring Maui residency, and Hina Wong-Kalu, one of 16 candidates bidding for three at-large seats.

The Sierra Club has also endorsed state Sen. Clayton Hee for lieutenant governor.


No endorsement was made in the governor’s race, although the group said it was still considering endorsements in key races across the state.

The organization endorsed Sen. Josh Green for the state Senate District 3 race and Lorraine Inouye, a former Big Island mayor and state senator, in District 4.

In state House races on the Big Island, the Sierra Club picked Joy Sanbuenaventura in District 4, appointed Rep. Richard Creagan in District 5 and incumbent Rep. Nicole Lowen in District 6.

For the Hawaii County Council, the club endorsed incumbent Valerie Piondexter in District 1, Kerri Marks in District 2, Roy Lozano in District 4, Tiffany Edwards Hunt in District 5, Richard Abbett in District 6 and incumbents Karen Eoff and Margaret Wille in districts 8 and 9, respectively.


The club chose to not endorse any candidates in the state Senate 1 seat currently held by Sen. Gil Kahele. The term for the Senate 2 seat won by Sen. Russell Ruderman in 2012 is staggered and not up for re-election until 2016.

The club also did not endorse any candidates in County Council districts 3 or 7.

Scott Glenn, chair of the Sierra Club of Hawaii, said the organization endorsed candidates who “will help to protect Hawaii’s clean water, special places, and spectacular biodiversity and all have demonstrated a commitment to our goal of maximizing renewable energy.”

“We need advocates that will fight to eliminate the United States’ addiction to dirty fossil fuels that affect the health of our keiki and kupuna,” Glenn said in a press release. “Our endorsed candidates have courageously stood up to corporate special interests to fight for our future.”

The release said endorsements required a two-thirds majority vote from at least two Sierra Club committees of elected leaders based on detailed surveys sent to candidates.

A full list of the Sierra Club endorsements in Hawaii is available here.

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