East Hawaii News

Govt. Workers Union Issues Endorsements for Primary Election

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The Hawaii Government Employees Association today announced its slate of endorsements for the upcoming primary election, and a candidate in the governor’s race is not among them.

The HGEA, the state’s largest labor union which represents more than 42,000 white-collar government workers and retirees, endorsed US Sen. Brian Schatz in the special election to fill out the remaining two years of the term of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye.

The union also endorsed US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in her re-election bid to the 2nd Congressional District, which consists of rural Oahu and the neighbor islands.

Like the governor’s race, it left open the 1st Congressional District race.

It also didn’t make a pick in the state Senate District 4 race pitting Sen. Malama Solomon against former state senator and Big Island mayor Lorraine Inouye, or in the state House District 4 race where controversial Rep. Faye Hanohano is seeking re-election.


The HGEA endorsed Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui for lieutenant governor.

The union said its endorsements were made by political action committees made up of members from each of the HGEA’s eight bargaining units representing state and county workers as well as the excluded managerial unit and retirees’ unit.

HGEA endorsements on the Big Island follow (asterisks indicate incumbents):

State Senate


District 1 – Gilbert Kahele*
District 3 – Josh Green*
District 4 – Open

State House

District 1 – Mark Nakashima*
District 2 – Clift Tsuji*
District 3 – Richard Onishi*
District 4 – Open
District 5 – Richard Creagan*
District 6 – Nicole Lowen*
District 7 – Open

Hawaii County Council


District 1 – Valerie Poindexter*
District 2 – Aaron Chung
District 3 – Dennis “Fresh” Onishi
District 4 – Greggor Ilagan*
District 5 – Daniel Paleka Jr.
District 6 – Maile David-Medeiros
District 7 – Dru Kanuha*
District 8 – Karen Eoff*
District 9 – Ronald Gonzales

“We believe that these candidates share our values and are very supportive to public employees and the many vital services they provide to our communities,” State Political Action Committee Chair Diane Nakashima said in a statement.

“These candidates are committed leaders who will help to move our state and counties forward.”

The union’s full slate of endorsements is available here.

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