‘Not just me, it’s us’

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Gubernatorial candidate Andria Tupola makes her remarks, Thursday during the talk story at the Happiness Planting Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Ron Curtis, a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat, enjoys the entertainment, Thursday evening du ring the talk story at the Happiness Planting Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Gubernatorial candidate Andria Tupola is attentive to remarks being made by Ed Ka‘ahea and Steve Yoder, Thursday during the talk story at the Happiness Planting Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Gubernatorial candidate Andria Tupola flashes a shaka sign while speaking of sign waving, Thursday night during the talk story at the Happiness Planting Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Gubernatorial candidate Andria Tupola greets supporters, Thursday night during a talk story at the Happiness Planting Center

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Gubernatorial candidate Andria Tupola greets guests, Thursday night during a talk story at the Happiness Planting Center in Lihue.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Gubernatorial candidate Andria Tupola makes her appearance at the Happiness Planting Center following a radio interview, Thursday evening.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    The audience applauds gubernatorial candidate Andria Tupola, Thursday night during the talk story at the Happiness Planting Center.

LIHUE — “That girl’s got strong mana,” said Auntie Brenda Ortiz, watching gubernatorial candidate Andria Tupola as she spoke to a charmed audience Thursday night in Lihue.

It was 18 days before the election and there was standing room only at the Happiness Planting Center, where state Rep. Tupola held a two-hour town hall meeting to talk story with Kauai residents.

“Our people are being forced off their lands and our children can’t afford to live here,” Ortiz said. “We need change.”

And she wasn’t the only one asking about Tupola’s plans for affordable housing and supporting small business.

“We need to strengthen Hawaii’s economy,” said resident Steve Herr. “Our kids need jobs and housing to be able to stay here.”

“We” was the key word throughout the meeting, where Tupola encouraged people to first and foremost, “get out and vote.”

“We need your vote and we need you to join us,” the 37-year-old Republican told the audience of about 150. “Call your friends and family and tell them to vote, make a Facebook post.”

The representative of state District 43 (Maili, Nanakuli, Ko Olina, Honokai Hale, Kalaeloa, Ewa) was elected in her first run for office in 2014, and was reelected in 2016.

She became the first Samoan/Hawaiian woman to serve as the state House minority leader, a position she continues to serve in today.

She easily won the primary with 17, 297 votes, 53 percent, to John Carroll’s 10,974, 33.7 percent, and Ray L’Heureux’s 2,885, 8.8 percent.

She’ll face incumbent Democrat Gov. David Ige in the Nov. 6 general election.

In the midst of technical difficulties, Tupola left the stage and mingled with the crowd. She heard concerns about the future of the state and told the story of how she started campaigning in August 2017 for the governor’s seat.

“I’m going to take over this government,” she said. “But it’s not just me, it’s us. I’m the kind of leader that leads from the front and the sides and the middle and when I can’t lead, I inspire the people to lead.”

She told the story of starting out as a music teacher with a strong desire for change in Hawaii. She spoke about trying to talk “amazing people” into running for office and about how she ultimately took up the role.

The wife and mother of two highlighted the differences between herself and Ige, pointing out fiscal irresponsibility and the false missile alert in January as two examples where she says Ige failed.

“How many of you in this room would say the false missile alert was embarrassing for Hawaii?” she asked the crowd.

Nearly every hand in the room went up.

But the perceived failures of the past administration weren’t the main topic of the evening — the focus was on Tupola’s plans to target inefficiencies and make life better for the people of Hawaii.

“I say we need to eliminate taxes on food. That’s a necessity to life,” she said. “At the Legislature they say, ‘woah, where are we going to get money if we cut taxes?’”

Tupola continued: “I can find the money. There are people who don’t pay their lease and we pay out contracts that weren’t completely fulfilled all the time. There’s always money.”

The meeting was peppered with cheers as Tupola reminded attendees why she is campaigning, and several attendees took the time to thank her for entering the race.

Tupola has been campaigning on all the islands and also was on Kauai last month.

She spent Friday sign waving in Anahola, next to a line of supporters along Kuhio Highway.

“I’m the only woman running for governor, I’m the only mother running for governor,” she said. “If I didn’t believe in what I was doing, do you think I’d be doing it? No.”

7 Comments
  1. tunataxi October 20, 2018 6:40 am Reply

    Want a bigger military presence in Hawaii vote for her. Want a Mormon to inflict her values on the general population vote for her. Want to see help for the elderly and poor who live among us eliminated in Hawaii vote for her. Want to see our taxes increase but tax breaks for hotels and other corporations then vote for her. Don’t let the dark skin fool you and don’t forget it was the republican missionaries that took over Hawaii. Don’t believe me read some history. Sugar, big business and the military stole Hawaii


  2. Sock October 20, 2018 7:28 am Reply

    How is it that the caption under the photo misspells both her first and last name??


  3. some guy October 20, 2018 7:56 am Reply

    cue the autistic screeching from left….now


  4. harry oyama October 20, 2018 8:17 am Reply

    Its about time to get rid of the Democrats that have a vice grip on power for far too long over 50 years that resulted in a bloated useless State agencies infested with corrupt lazy employees whose primary focus is not in making government more effective, but to retire for life sucking more of your hard earned income from for life pensions.

    Just look at the bogged down system of getting things done, go down to your nearest DVM and stand in line for hours, while in California all of this is done on computers. Now the recent death of an elderly man at the Pali crossing even after repeated complaints going on for years, the State still wants to “study” the situation. These lazy bureacrats should be fired and not collect any pensions.


  5. Pete Antonson October 20, 2018 1:06 pm Reply

    The pink elephant in the room is that the Republic Party has been taken over by extremists who disregard integrity and their former values in favor of the win. They support an amoral, racist, sexist, incompetent, religious bigot as a leader. Polls of Republic Party members indicate that around 85% have circled the wagons around this chump. Any Republic Party meeting should spend a third of it’s time apologizing and addressing this instead of pretending it doesn’t exist!


  6. Justmyopinion October 20, 2018 2:53 pm Reply

    Absolutely correct, Harry. Tunataxi must be using too much “medical” pakalolo. He obviously has never met Andria.


  7. hutch October 20, 2018 3:43 pm Reply

    Harry Oyama for Governor! Always right on the money.


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