By Derrick DePledge
Gov. Neil Abercrombie told the Democratic Party of Hawaii on Tuesday that he would be willing to yield some of his time at the state convention in May so other candidates for governor could address the delegates.
In a letter to Dante Carpenter, the party's chairman, the governor said it was "in the finest traditions of our party" to allow equal opportunity for others to speak.
State Sen. David Ige, who is challenging Abercrombie in the primary, complained last week that he was being denied an opportunity to address delegates from the convention podium. Ige asked the party too allow all candidates in major races to speak. Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson, who is running for Congress, joined in Ige's request over the weekend.
Eight elected officials -- including Abercrombie -- have each been given five-minute slots to discuss progress toward the party's platform at the convention at the Sheraton Waikiki. Candidates have been given a separate opportunity to appear at a meet-and-greet at the Royal Hawaiian.
Party leaders are considering Ige's request.
In my role as governor, I was asked to address delegates at the Hawaii Democratic Party Convention. Some statewide candidates, however, have made requests to similarly address delegates. While the Democratic Party makes the final decisions on convention matters, I have offered to yield a portion of my time to all of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates running for office. In doing so, I hope that convention delegates will able to hear the many diverse voices of the Democratic Party.
*Updated: From Ige:
I am pleased that the governor agreed with my call for fairness and that all statewide democratic candidates be given the opportunity to speak from the floor of the state Democratic convention and not break from traditions of previous years. This election is about hearing everyone's voices, positions and issues, and moving the party and the state forward.