Absentee voting begins this week to fill the unexpired term of the late U.S. Rep. Patsy T. Mink (D, rural O’ahu, Neighbor Islands).
Mink passed away in late September on O’ahu from complications from pneumonia, and the first of two special elections is set for Saturday, Nov. 30.
The winner of the first race will immediately serve out the rest of Mink’s unexpired term, will ends in mid-January.
Another election is set for Saturday, Jan. 4, to select someone to fill the entire two-year term Mink posthumously won re-election to in the Tuesday, Nov. 5 general election.
Absentee voting for the first special election begins this Thursday, Nov. 14, running Monday through Saturday until and including Wednesday, Nov. 27, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Historic County Building in Lihu’e.
Regular, election-day polling places for the two special elections will be different than those Kaua’i locations used during the primary and general elections, but were not available yesterday.
Voters will be sent notification cards that will include precinct information. Voters should examine the cards to see if their voting location has changed since the general election.
Those who are currently registered to vote do not need to re-register for the special elections unless they have moved or changed names since they last voted.
For the first special election, the deadline for requesting absentee ballots by mail is Saturday, Nov. 23.
Candidates have until Wednesday, Nov. 20 to file nomination papers for the second special election, and as of yesterday seven people filed papers, including Hanalei resident Gregory “Iimz” Goodwin.
Goodwin along with two other Kaua’i residents, Walter R. Barnes of Wailua Homesteads and Jeff Mallan of Kapa’a, are among a total of 38 candidates seeking to serve the unexpired term of Mink.
Among those are John F. Mink, Patsy Mink’s widower, and state Rep. Ed Case (D, Manoa), an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor in the primary race won by Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono.
John F. Mink said he won’t run in the second special election, and state Rep. Bob McDermott (R, Salt Lake, Aliamanu, Aiea), who ran unsuccessfully against Patsy Mink in the 2002 general election, bowed out of the first special election, but has filed papers for the second special election.
Barnes said he doesn’t plan on running in the second special election. “I think Bob McDermott’s strong showing in the November 5th election was a clear mandate that voters have lost faith in the Democrat party and are willing to vote Republican. Bob deserves their vote in the special election,” he said.
Mallan has already been interviewed by The Garden Island, so following are some answers by Barnes, 58, a Republican, and Goodwin, 52, to questions posed by this newspaper. Goodwin, who filed to run in both special elections as a member of the Green Party, has recently sent paperwork necessary to be a candidate of that party.
– Why did you decide to run?
Barnes: By electing a Republican, you notify the Bush administration and the GOP-controlled Congress that Hawaiians support Governor-elect Linda Lingle’s new beginning for Hawai’i. As a Republican, I will promote Linda’s agenda in Congress and work with the appropriations committees and federal agencies to ensure that Hawai’i is getting its fair share.
Goodwin: I decided to run on what turned out to be the day before the filing deadline when it seemed that John Mink was not interested in seeking to run in what is now the first special election for Patsy’s vacant seat. I filed the following day about 1 p.m., then called Patsy’s offices in Honolulu to say that were I elected all of Patsy’s staff would retain a job in her offices. Two hours later I heard that John Mink had filed also.
– Do you think you have a chance of winning?
Goodwin: A chance, yes. A significant probability, no.
Barnes: The most significant message coming out of the November 5 election is the fact that the Democrats have lost the trust of voters. I think a Republican candidate has a great chance of winning.
– What do you do for a living?
Barnes: I am president and chief executive officer of the National Association of REO Brokers, Inc. (NAREOB). The association provides real estate services to financial institutions around the United States.
Goodwin: My wife works full time at a cafe, while I do mostly carpentry part-time. I work on our house, landscape, plantings, do a lot of writing, shuffling papers and similar such non-pay activities.
-Tell us something we don’t know, or something you find appealing, about belonging to the political party of your choice.
Goodwin: Today (Saturday) I mailed in my Green Party membership form with the requisite $10 membership fee to Hawaii Green Party, Kailua-Kona. The mail doesn’t go out on Sunday, nor on Veteran’s Day, so I’m still not officially a member of Green Party USA (“a confederation based on local Green groups, state Green Parties, and state Green caucuses, referred to as Locals, State Parties and State Caucuses, respectively,” www.greenparty.org/bylaws.html), or Hawaii Green Party; however, through David Gerow of Kauai Green Party I am granted some GP standing on the basis that he is somewhat familiar with past and present principles of my numerous candidacies, and he concurs that there is no disqualifying aspect of contradiction between those principles upon which as either an independent or nonpartisan candidate I have/do seek public office and those principles which are at the core of Green Party USA. I started running for public office in 1977 in Texas (1978 lieutenant governor’s race, versus Bill Hobby), but it was not until 1979 in running for U.S. Senate against Bob Packwood of Oregon (in Portland, where I was born) that I was capable of putting together a platform to run on. That platform sufficed for my 1982 run for governor of Oregon (versus Victor Atiyeh), 1984 versus Reagan, et al. and 1988 vs. Bush, et al., though in ’88 I was also running for mayor (versus the late Tony Kunimura, JoAnn Yukimura, Eduardo Malapit and the late John Sousa). Had that 1979 platform not been published in a book called “Minor Presidential Candidates and Parties of 1988,” I would probably have to use the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) or the FBI to get a copy of it (am joking, kind of), since local politics and ‘Iniki cared little for my very durable platform. Anyway, I think before Green Party Germany, but certainly before Green Party USA, I was already “Green.” When the Ira Rohter Green Party of Hawaii threw their GP-Hawai’i by-law book at me in 1994 in (Fifth Circuit Court Judge Gerald) Matsunaga’s court here on Kaua’i, I was amused that in 1990, when I (a leftist, a radical, a communist, in the eyes of some) self-subscribed as a Republican, I was getting personalized form letters from Pres. G. W. Bush to come visit D.C. for Republican functions to chat (i.e., get picture taken) with him and/or members of his cabinet. God help us if Ira Rohter Greens ever get control of Hawai’i (am not joking).
Barnes: The Republican Party’s strong pro-growth, pro-market economic policy which features tax cuts to stimulate both investment and consumption offers the best hope of getting America moving again, allowing the small business person to keep more of what they earned, and building significant wealth for America’s middle class.
– What is the number one issue facing Kaua’i?
Barnes: Kaua’i voted overwhelmingly Democratic in the last congressional and gubernatorial election. Kaua’i voters will have to come to terms with the reality that political diversity is a good thing for this island. Diversity of political parties, views and opinions is healthy. Political diversity offers people choice and hope. It contributes to a stable and productive community and nation. Without political diversity, the views of the unrepresented on matters of state, defense, economy and education go unheard. Here in Hawai’i, political diversity is absent in the GOP-controlled U.S. Congress. This is not good for Kaua’i or Hawai’i. Additional funding for education and construction jobs could be lost since federal appropriations favor those in power. Let us bring political diversity to our congressional delegation and make our community more stable and productive. Your vote can affect that change. While the term will be short, electing a Republican representative to Congress sends a clear message to the GOP administration, and GOP-controlled congress and the rest of the nation, that Kaua’i has embraced political diversity.
Goodwin: All other things (law and order, rate of employment, cost of living, etc.) remaining about the same, the number-one issue facing Kaua’i is the absence of truly democratic connectivity between the peoples of Kaua’i and the direction Kaua’i is to proceed through the next several generations of peoples on Kaua’i. Solid wastes; the KIUC-sponsored sell-out of the people of Kaua’i; fossil-fueled, individualized transportation; a tourist-based economy; focus-free, undiversified education; television nonsense and worse; are very serious issues, but Kaua’i’s populace is not enfranchised to address such issues except through an 18th-century republican, representative style of democracy which washes up like flotsam biennially. When people are not empowered to effect change, they find better things to do than to educate themselves or allow themselves to be educated on issues over which they have no direct power to effect change.
In addition, two questions were posed only to Goodwin, who has been a candidate for a variety of public offices both in Hawai’i and on the Mainland.
– After some time out of the political arena, you are back. Why?
Goodwin: I have never run for the U.S. House, and aside from John Mink I have no inhibiting ideological affinities with any candidates seeking Patsy’s seat.
– What other parties have you belonged to, or declared you were a member of, during your times running for office?
Goodwin: In the 1990 Kaua’i council race, I took out papers self-subscribing to the Republican Party, won (there were not more than seven Republican candidates running for seven Republican primary positions) in the primary, lost in the general. In the 1994 governor’s race, I self-subscribed to the Green Party, was on the ballot for the primary, but was disqualified as a Green Party candidate as a result of Hawaii Green Party court action in Judge Matsunaga’s court. The judge did, however, compel the Hawaii Green Party to return my Green Party membership fee collected by the Hawaii Green Party.
Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:email@example.com or 245-3681 (ext. 224).