February 1, 2012
Hawai'i voters have a crucial choice to make between us in the Democratic primary for Hawaii's next U. S. Senator. Voting in that primary starts in less than five months.
In making that decision, voters are entitled to listen to us debate the issues of our day, just as we must be able to do as their United States Senator. I hope you agree that providing voters the opportunity to compare us side-by-side and in person across Hawai'i will bring this election personally to their doorstep and help bridge the widening chasm between government and citizens.
A month ago now I asked our Democratic Party of Hawai'i to host statewide joint presentations between us before the start of primary voting. Our DPH chair responded favorably, as did many DPH members and other voters throughout Hawai'i.
You did not respond, but your spokesperson said that you "will participate in constructive forums which provide voters useful information, have meaningful reach and do not conflict with her congressional duties. We will be releasing our proposed criteria for evaluating joint appearances.” I don't believe you have released your criteria or agreed to any such appearances.
Another month has passed and the clock is ticking down. The U. S. House's 2012 schedule shows that you will only be in session for 73 of the 192 days remaining until the August 11th Democratic primary. Even allowing for travel time, you have at least 100 full days available at home including eight full weeks.
Hitting the road with me across the state during your time home will give voters statewide a wealth of "useful information" on critical issues like our economy, budget and Social Security and Medicare and on each of us as their next Senator. I hope you agree that your spokesperson's "meaningful reach" comment was not meant to restrict our joint appearances to one or two carefully scripted TV debates, excluding voters in communities throughout Hawai'i from sizing us up personally.
Here are some suggested ways we could take our candidacies right to the voters:
(1) Democrats. Again, ask the DPH and county parties to conduct candidate nights for us and other Democratic candidates.
(2) Economy/budget. Ask the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai'i and other chambers and business organizations in all counties to conduct forums where we can discuss growing our economy and balancing our federal budget.
(3) Seniors. Ask AARP to host joint discussions on preserving Social Security and Medicare and assuring affordable and available health care for our seniors.
(4) Government reform. Ask Common Cause Hawai'i and other government reform organizations to host forums on fixing DC.
This would be in addition to asking our TV and radio stations statewide to host debates between us. (I hope you will accept now, as I have, KITV 4 News' and Civil Beat's invitation to us to a televised debate on June 13th.)
I ask you now for a direct answer on whether you will work with me to schedule statewide joint appearances to bring our candidacies right to voters throughout Hawai'i. What would truly provide voters with an informed choice and invite them back into their government awaits only your commitment to do so.