Democratic state Sen. Gary Hooser filed papers on Thursday at the Historic County Building to make his bid for re-election official.
Hooser’s wife, Claudette, joined him at the Elections Division Office in Lihu‘e, where he released a statement on his decision to seek a third term as the island’s sole senator.
“As the senator elected to represent the people of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau, and as the Senate majority leader, I am committed to serving all of Hawai‘i in the pursuit of the goals we mutually share: excellent educational opportunities, a protected and accessible natural environment, energy independence, a strong and diversified economy and a society that supports equality and justice for all people,” he said.
Before Hooser started serving in public office in 1998 on the Kaua‘i County Council, he owned and operated a real estate company and publishing enterprise.
The Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Kapa‘a and Small Business Administration have publicly recognized his business achievements.
The University of Hawai‘i Professional Assembly has endorsed Hooser.
“It is an honor to serve and I am humbled and thankful to my Kaua‘i friends and neighbors for allowing me this privilege,” he said. “I pledge to keep working hard to improve life in Hawai‘i for all. My door remains always open and I look forward to working together with you to resolve the challenges and celebrate the successes that, without a doubt, lie in our shared future.”
After wrapping up the 2008 legislative session last week, the 54-year-old Kapa‘a resident said he is ready to enter campaign mode. He plans to spend the upcoming weeks recruiting volunteers, readying signs and following up with constituents.
If re-elected, Hooser said many issues await at the state Legislature.
“We really need to put 100 percent support behind public education,” he said. “It’s the No. 1 thing we need to do in the state. It’s the key not only to individual success, but the state’s prosperity.”
First elected to serve as Kaua‘i’s state senator in 2002, he was re-elected in 2004 after winning a hard-fought battle against Republican former Mayor Maryanne Kusaka.
As of last week, the 7th District state senatorial race remains uncontested for the next term.
Hooser said his “open door policy” and position as Senate majority leader, combined with his ability to collaborate with legislative colleagues, have resulted in “numerous pieces of important legislation and the funding of critical CIP projects benefiting Kaua‘i residents.”
His past focus has been on education, affordable housing, energy and environmental issues, and agriculture preservation.
The primary is Sept. 20 and the general election is Nov. 4.
• Nathan Eagle, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or firstname.lastname@example.org.