Our Islands, Our Future

There’ s good news for anyone that missed the live October 6 broadcast of the “Focus 2010: Gubernatorial Conversation” on Akaku Maui Community Television between Lt. Gov. James “ Duke” Aiona and former U.S. Congressman Neil Abercrombie. The forum, held at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center and aired simultaneously on Hawaii Public Radio (HPR) stations, is to be broadcast nationally on C-SPAN, the National Public Affairs cable network. Refer to local listings for exact times and dates for these repeats. In addition, the debate is available online at; go to Akaku Online and then Video on Demand. It can also be accessed at

The 90-minute Forum, which was presented by the Maui Economic Development Board and Hawaii Public Radio, took place in front of a live audience. Kayla Rosenfeld, News Director at HPR, moderated the session and posed questions that reflected the priorities of the Focus Maui Nui vision. The conversation was polite, if occasionally pointed, as the candidates made clear they agreed on defining issues while differing on how state government can respond.

Aiona noted the current administration’s support for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education in Hawaii’s schools and proposed an audit of the Department of Education. Abercrombie spoke in favor of improving education by giving local schools more control and accountability.

Both candidates support development of renewable energy resources, and while Abercrombie proposed a State Energy Authority to support development, Aiona cited progress by the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative to support renewable energy research and development. Among several other issues, both candidates spoke to the need to deal with the high costs of island transportation, citing high fuel costs as a major factor, and both spoke positively about the importance of spurring science and technology jobs and the potential of astronomy in particular.

View the entire debate on C-SPAN or Akaku, and VOTE in the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 2.