By Derrick DePledge
Nanea Kalani, our education reporter, captured this exchange at Gov. Neil Abercrombie's news conference Friday on a new contract with the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly:
During a Q&A portion of Friday morning’s University of Hawaii Professional Assembly press conference in the governor’s office -- where the state and faculty union announced a tentative contract deal a year ahead of schedule -- Gov. Abercrombie was asked whether this agreement was politically motivated since the union has a history of endorsing him.
Keoki Kerr, a reporter for Hawaii News Now, said: “Here you are making an unprecedented agreement a year before a contract is up, in a year when you are up for reelection . . .”
“That shows what a good job I’m doing,” Abercrombie interjected.
“But your critics might say it also shows you’re essentially throwing a political bone to a union that has supported you for a long time, when you might not be around to make that agreement in another year,” the reporter continued.
The governor replied, “Someone might say that, but I’ll leave the agreement to speak for itself. … We put this together in good faith. That’s what collective bargaining is all about: good faith.
“Whether such commentary is worthy will be able to be judged by the faculty vote. … I am confident that the faculty vote will be overwhelmingly in favor of this agreement because it’s in the best interest of everyone.
“If someone wants to bring politics up, let me put it this way: I believe best politics is always good politics. If you do good things for good people, you know, in a good faith way, that speaks for itself. I believe the politics of this agreement will ring across the state as, ‘This is the way it should be done.’”