On The Campaign Trail

HGEA endorses Wagner in 8th House race

Democrat Mary Wagner has received the endorsement of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the state’s largest union, in her bid for the 8th House District seat formerly held by longtime Central Maui Rep. Joe Souki.

The union represents more than 42,000 government workers, according to her announcement.

Wagner, a 20-year Wailuku resident, is an information technology manager for Maui County. For 15 years, she served in the Maui Police Department, where she was the first civilian manager of the Records and Identification Section and Information Technology Section.

“I’m running to raise the quality of life for my friends and neighbors throughout District 8,” she said, adding that she’s an experienced collective bargaining negotiator. “I’ll fight for smart growth, higher wages, affordable housing and environmental protection.”

Wagner, the only woman in the 8th House race, has called on the state House of Representatives to reform its sexual harassment policies following Souki’s resignation earlier this year because of such allegations.

Gov. David Ige appointed Democrat Troy Hashimoto to the seat late in this year’s session.

Wagner said her endorsement by the HGEA marked the first major endorsement of any candidate in the race. She pledged to abide by the fundraising and spending limits of the state’s partial public funding program. She said she would not accept campaign funds from the fossil-fuel industry.

“This is a people-powered campaign,” she said.

The 8th District includes Wailuku, Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Paukukalo and Waikapu.

Wagner’s campaign website is maryformaui.org.

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Fundraiser set for 9th House candidate

A fundraiser will be held 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 27 at the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center to back the candidacy of Democrat Kauanoe Batangan, who is attempting to unseat Central Maui state Rep. Justin Woodson.

There’s a suggested donation of $25.

Woodson holds the 9th House District seat, which includes Kahului, Puunene, Old Sand Hills and Maui Lani.

Batangan is a former aide to the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and to U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. He’s a graduate of Kamehameha Schools Maui and studied political science at Stanford University before earning master’s degrees from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Public Policy.

He’s the founder of the Native Hawaiian Congressional Fellowship, a program that gives young Native Hawaiian leaders the opportunity to work closely with congressional leaders in Washington, D.C. Batangan most recently worked as a long-term substitute teacher at Kamehameha Schools Maui.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 214-1303 or send email to aloha@kauanoebatangan.com. More information about Batangan’s campaign is available at www.kauanoebatangan.com.

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• On the Campaign Trail is a public service for candidates to publicize fundraisers, public appearances and other campaign-related items. For more information, call 242-6343.

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