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October 22nd, 2014

Students are getting the chance to help resolve a question state lawmakers could not: what should be the state instrument?

In one of the strangest debates at the Legislature, state lawmakers could not decide whether to make the ukulele or the steel guitar the state instrument.

In an attempt at a politically correct compromise, lawmakers considered designating an "ancient" instrument and a "modern" instrument. But that, too, left lawmakers out of tune.

So now the students taking part in We Vote Hawaii, an affiliate of Kids Voting USA, will get the question on their ballots. Students had helped pick the humuhumunukunukuapuaa as the state fish.

What should be the official ʿauana (modern) instrument of the state?

_____    Slack Key Guitar  _____    Steel Guitar    _____    ʿUkulele

What should be the official kahiko (traditional) instrument of the state?

___       Ipu Heke (gourd drum)

____ ʿOhe Hano Ihu (nose flute)

____     Pahu (drum)

____     Pūʿili (split bamboo rattle)

____ ʿUlīʿulī (feather gourd rattle)

Online voting opened on Oct. 20 and closes on Nov. 4 -- Election Day.

"Our children’s choices will surface in a bill and likely affect the outcome of lawmakers’ decisions in 2015," state Sen. Glenn Wakai said in an email.


October 21st, 2014

State Sen. David Ige's Democratic campaign for governor has a new television advertisement up that features a testimonial from Dawn Amano-Ige, the candidate's wife.

Amano-Ige, a vice principal at Kanoelani Elementary School, has been active in her husband's campaign. She is often the highlight of the "Circle of Extraordinary Women" events.

`Lean Democratic'

October 21st, 2014

Governing magazine has moved its assessment of the Hawaii governor's race to "lean Democratic" from "tossup."

State Sen. David Ige, the Democrat, has consistently led former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, the Republican, and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, the independent, in recent public and private polls.

From Governing:

Hawaii: open seat, Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) defeated in primary. Shift from tossup

After a topsy-turvy cycle, Hawaii's gubernatorial race has finally settled down somewhat. Democratic state Sen. David Ige -- who ousted the incumbent Abercrombie -- has opened up a small but consistent lead against former Republican lieutenant governor James "Duke" Aiona and, running as an Independent, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanemann.


October 20th, 2014

The American Comeback Committee, the super PAC linked to the Republican Governors Association, has been trying to link state Sen. David Ige to unpopular Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

But in a new radio advertisement, the super PAC pairs Ige with former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann. The ad hits the two candidates for their support of a general excise tax surcharge for the city's rail project.

The twist is curious because most political analysts agree that Hannemann, an independent, needs to take about 15 percent to 20 percent of the vote for former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, the Republican, to win the governor's race with a plurality of around 40 percent. Hannemann, however, has been polling under 10 percent in several surveys.

Ige, the Democrat, has a clearer path to victory if Hannemann does not take more of the vote.


October 20th, 2014

State House Speaker Joseph Souki said the House will not take up a challenge to Rep. Calvin Say's residency before the November elections.

Six Palolo voters have questioned whether Say lives in the Palolo state House district he has represented since 1976 or actually lives with his family in Pauoa Valley. The voters lost a legal challenge in Circuit Court but plan to appeal. After the court ruling, the voters asked the House to investigate Say's residency.

In a letter Friday to Lance Collins, an attorney for the voters, Souki said the House cannot unilaterally call itself into special session. The speaker also cited the potential appeal of the court ruling.

The House had intervened in the court case, arguing, like Say, that only the House has the power to determine whether members are qualified voters of the districts they represent, the standard under the state Constitution.

Collins said in an email that "it has become clear that Souki's purpose in intervening in the Say lawsuit was not to protect the House's jurisdiction over its members -- as was claimed -- but to protect one specific member from having to answer for his lack of qualifications.

"The speaker has extensive powers under the Constitution and the House rules. The problem is not a lack of power but a lack of political will. The other House members and the public have a right to know what Say offered Souki for the integrity of the House."

Say, a Democrat, is facing Keiko Bonk, a Green Party candidate, and Julia Allen, a Republican, in November.