Sierra Club endorses David Ige and Shan Tsutsui

Today the Sierra Club announced that they are endorsing David Ige and Shan Tsutsui for Governor/Lt. Governor. This is not the first time the Club has endorsed Tsutsui who was endorsed by the Sierra Club every time he ran for the legislature.

The Sierra Club praised both candidates:

. “We have confidence that Senator Ige will move Hawaii toward a more sustainable future when he is elected governor. He supports efforts to modernize Hawaii’s electrical grid and facilitate increases in rooftop solar.”

The Sierra Club has been particularly concerned about HECO’s  roadblocks in the way those wanting to install rooftop solar, so one can understand why they would endorse an engineer who understands grid issues at a deep level.  Sierra Club praised Shan Tsutui for his long record of sincere caring for residents’ quality of life:

“Shan Tsutsui has a deep understanding of what makes each island unique, and has always been there for us.  Whether it’s combating invasive species or making a more liveable community for working families, his actions come from his own heartfelt values.  He is especially good at bringing all sides together and crafting solutions that are a win for everyone.”

According to Civil Beat:

“The Sierra Club chose not to endorse a gubernatorial candidate for governor in the primary, a clear snub of Abercrombie, who some have criticized for not being sufficiently sensitive toward environmental issues and more inclined to side with developers.”

Ironically, in 2010 the Sierra Club had campaigned hard for Abercrombie against Mufi Hannemann, going so far as to create detailing Hannemann’s failings.  According to one person who campaigned for Abercrombie, speaking on condition of anonymity, “Little did we know we were trading one pay-to-play candidate for another.”

What Civil Beat did not mention is that in a fit of pique after being passed over for endorsement, Abercrombie appointed three candidates to the Land Use Commission guaranteed to send the Sierra Club ballistic:  a Realtor (formerly with A&B Properties) and two construction union officials.  Immediately after the appointments were announced a petition asking the Senate not to confirm the interim appointments was launched.

Given the wide margin of Ige’s primary win over Abercrombie (despite being outspent 10 to 1), it appears voters are fed up with Abercrombie’s abrasive politics.

Both Ige and Tsutsui are low-key, competent men with long track records of getting things done in ways that bring the community together.  Both are also “hand-on” rather than delegating work and decisions to advisors as Abercrombie did.  Both have reputations for being calm and level headed.

They’ll face Republican Duke Aiona, supported by the religious right and independent Mufi Hanneman in November.

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