Re-elect our delegation

We wrote here a couple of weeks ago that it is very important that Maui’s legislative delegation be re-elected this year to ensure that the transition to a public-private partnership between Kaiser Permanente and the Maui Region of Hawaii Health Systems Corp. proceed as expeditiously as possible.

It is doubly important since our hospitals’ leadership team announced a plan on Oct. 17 that will preserve services and recruit badly needed nurses, doctors, clerks and technicians. That plan will require $5.6 million in special funding from the state to keep things progressing until the July 1, 2017, transfer of operations to Kaiser.

Our delegation is led by Speaker of the House Joe Souki. We have written glowing pieces here in the past endorsing Souki. Never has that leadership been more important than this year.

To recount some of the things we’ve said about the speaker in prior elections:

“Perhaps the thing that amazes us the most about Souki is the continuing stories we hear of him helping constituents he doesn’t necessarily agree with get a hearing. As we wrote when we endorsed him in 2008, ‘Mr. Souki is known for even helping constituents with views he doesn’t support — he’ll give advice on the best way to get your ideas heard. He is simply Maui’s gem and takes seriously his role of representing all of his constituents.’

“In the past we’ve referred to him as the best legislator in the state and — as far as we can tell — he hasn’t lost a step. He remains accessible, supportive and effective.”

Those words still ring true. But an even more important job exists for the speaker and our delegation this year — protect quality health care in Maui County.

So, please vote for Speaker Souki and the rest of our delegation. Their influence and leadership have never been more important.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.