Future journalists test Lt. Governor candidates at Tuesday morning forum

Ka Leo Staff, Local

At a morning forum at the Pacific Club on June 12 student editors from news programs at three high schools and the University of Hawaiʻi had questions for seven Lt. Governor candidates in the upcoming November 6 gubernatorial election.

The candidates present were Will Espero (D), Josh Green (D), Kim Coco Iwamoto (D), Marissa Kerns (R), Steve Lipscomb (R), Jeremy Low (R), and Jill Tokuda (D). The Hawaii Publishers Association forum was moderated by Pacific Business News’ Editor Kam Napier.

News writing student Jett Neeley interrupted his summer vacation to represent Kalani alongside students from Campbell, Mililani, and UH-Mānoa. Candidates were not given the questions beforehand.

At 8 a.m. moderator Kam Napier will welcome everyone, go over the forum rules: Each student asked one question. Each candidate had up two minutes to respond and many went over the allotted time limit.

Neeley (Class of 2019) was the second student in line and asked: “One of the biggest concerns among my generation is the amount of lobbying and seemingly legal bribes that go on in politics. In fact, the link between lobbying and politics is so strong that previous Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui resigned on Jan 31st to join a lobbying firm. What are you going to do to make sure that our interests are upheld against those of powerful lobbyists?”

Maile Morrell of Campbell asked: “What sets you apart from the other candidates?”

All other questions were primarily focused on education.

Keona Blanks, also of Campbell, asked: “What are you going to do to improve our public schools?”

Mililani student Caitlin Barbour asked: “People seem to have a tendency to believe the Lt. Governor doesn’t have much political power, what projects or agendas will you spearhead to dispel this belief?”

Chloe Kitsu, of Mililani, asked: “Research has shown that the biggest impact for a student is what happens in the classroom, for as long as I’ve been in school, there has been an issue of recruiting and retaining teachers, why do you think it is difficult to recruit and retain teachers from Hawaii and what would you do to address the situation?”

The final student from Mililani, Chanelle Camero, asked the candidates: “What’s going to happen with Aina Pono, the Farm to School program, after its test pilot at Mililani High School? Do you feel it was a success and will it continue on in Mililani and to other schools?”

The last student journalist, Nicole Tam, is the editor of the student newspaper at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She asked: “What are your initiatives for the University of Hawaii students or facilities?”

41 people attended the event which included a buffet breakfast from 7:30 to 8:00 a.m.