East Hawaii News

Abercrombie Pulls Out of Three AARP Debates

July 15, 2014, 5:26 PM HST
* Updated July 15, 5:30 PM
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The AARP said today it was “deeply disappointed” that Gov. Neil Abercrombie has pulled out of three out of four AARP-sponsored debates with gubernatorial challenger Sen. David Ige.

An AARP spokesman said Abercrombie’s campaign notified the organization on Friday that “scheduling difficulties” will prevent him from taking part in events scheduled for Friday on Maui, July 28 in Hilo and Aug. 2 in Honolulu.

Abercrombie will still participate in the AARP debate in Kona on July 29, when the governor is also scheduled to take part in a forum sponsored by the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce.

“AARP Hawaii is deeply disappointed that the governor will not be taking part in three of the four debates that his campaign had agreed to,” AARP Hawaii State Director Barbara Kim Stanton said in a statement.

“We hope the governor reconsiders his decision and honors his debate commitments,” Stanton said. “This is a critical election and the issues require thoughtful deliberation. Campaign ads are a poor substitute for giving voters every opportunity to make informed decisions based on side-by-side comparisons.”

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The AARP said the public information portions of the forums will still take place.

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The Hilo forum is scheduled for 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, while the Kona debate will be held from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel.

Forum discussion items include the future of Social Security, caregiving and long-term care challenges facing Hawaii, and AARP’s state legislative priorities.

The events are open to the public but registration is required, either online or by calling 1-877-926-8300.

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The nonprofit AARP has nearly 150,000 members in Hawaii.

According to its website, part of AARP’s mission is to provide non-partisan voter education. The organization does not endorse candidates, have a political action committee or make contributions to political candidates or campaigns.

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