A loss for Maui

The decision by Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui not to run for mayor of Maui County in 2018 removes a formidable candidate from the race.

In a story in Sunday’s Maui News, Tsutsui said he is sitting out the 2018 election cycle for family reasons. He said dropping his oldest daughter off at college this year made him realize how much of her growing-up years he missed because of his political career.

“Long story short, I want to try to focus on my two babies I have at home,” Tsutsui said in the article. He has two other daughters still in school on Maui.

The lieutenant governor’s withdrawal from the race for mayor throws that contest wide open. Current County Council Members Don Guzman and Elle Cochran have already expressed interest in the position, as well as former Council Member Mike Victorino.

It is widely expected that Tsutsui’s withdrawal will entice other candidates to enter the mayoral race.

While we certainly understand Tsutsui’s decision, we are sorry to see him leave the race. He is a uniter, not a divider, and we agree with the sentiments expressed in Sunday’s story that there are too many “labels.”

“I don’t like the divide,” he said. “There is a divide . . . with different visions as to where we move as a community.

“We are still part of the same state and part of the same community. . . . I just wish we could have some of the personalities kind of pushed to the side so that people can be more focused on the work.

“So what I’d like to see is we start focusing on issues as opposed to people and personalities and tying an individual to a particular point of view. . . . I think we have way more in common than people would like us to believe.”

We think Tsutsui represents the politics of compromise and common sense. On a local, state and national level, it has been proven time and again in recent years that divisiveness may win elections, but struggles when it comes to governing.

Democracies demand compromise. It’s hard to find common ground with someone who has been busy calling you a bunch of dirty names.

Too many of our politicians haven’t learned that lesson yet.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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