By BJ Reyes
The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii said Thursday that state Sen. David Ige, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, has withdrawn from a forum on Friday that was supposed to feature all four candidates for governor.
In a news release, the Institute said the forum will touch on a wide variety of issues of importance to Hawaii, from education to the economy.
"We are disappointed for the voting public that David Ige has withdrawn his commitment to participate in this well-planned gubernatorial forum. We are, however, grateful that candidates Aiona, Hannemann and Davis have each personally reaffirmed their commitments to participate in the forum. Every effort has been made to ensure fairness and to accommodate any needs indicated by each participant. We look forward to an engaging event and the opportunity for the public to be informed about the positions of these candidates for governor of Hawaii."
Lynn Kenton, an Ige spokeswoman, shared this message with Ige supporters on Thursday:
"We wanted to share with you our decision to withdraw from an Oahu forum tomorrow, Friday, August 22, featuring all of the gubernatorial candidates. David contacted the other candidates this morning to explain his decision. The organization is holding the forum for its members and guests of members. We apologize to any member of that organization that had planned to attend, and for any inconvenience our withdrawal may create.
As we read the guidelines, we saw that the hosting organization stated that our participation gave them the approval to videotape the event and “distribute as it sees fit.” David felt that any candidate -- or individual for that matter -- should be concerned with this type of agreement, as we all know how statements can be taken out of context, and especially during campaign season! When we initially agreed to the event, we were not aware we would also be consenting to use of any recording untilyesterday.
Since then, leaders from the hosting organization have clarified their intent with all of the gubernatorial candidates. However, David had already accepted another off-island invitation and therefore, will not be able to participate in tomorrow’s forum.
There will be many more public and televised opportunities open to the general public. David looks forward to allowing voters these opportunities to listen to each candidate’s views and responses to questions.
We appreciate your support and understanding."