Friday, October 25, 2002

Election 2002
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Gubernatorial candidates
push high tech

Lingle and Hirono both want
to generate more isle investments

By Richard Borreca

With a day to go before their only live television debate, Democrat Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono and Republican Linda Lingle held a tune-up match yesterday, debating the issue of high technology in Hawaii.

Both women were for it.

The gubernatorial candidates appeared before a meeting of the Hawaii High Technology Trade Association and the Hawaii Venture Capital Association at Dave & Buster's in Kakaako. They both pledged to support and promote the state's new legislation to encourage high tech investments, Act 221.

The legislation gives tax breaks and tax credits to firms investing in Hawaii high-tech projects. The measure has strong support among state politicians, including Gov. Ben Cayetano, as the state tries to position itself as a good place for high-tech investments.

Critics have noted that the state used Act 221 to give away $14 million in tax credits for the film "Blue Crush," which cost $32 million to produce.

Lingle and Hirono, however, said they would work to promote the act as a way to bring investors to Hawaii.

"I want to be an activist governor," Lingle said. "I want to make three calls a day to the mainland to get companies to invest in Hawaii, and I want to make three calls a day to local companies to expand their operations."

Hirono offered strong support for the University of Hawaii's school of medicine, saying that it would open 1,500 new high-tech jobs when it is completed.

State officials broke ground on the new school yesterday in Kakaako.

"I want to grow the state economy and create good-paying jobs in biotech, ocean sciences, astronomy, and health and wellness," Hirono said.

Tonight the pair will hold a one-hour TV debate, starting at 7 p.m., that will be carried live across the state on KHET, KHON, KITV, KGMB, KHNL and KIKU, along with KHVH and KHNR radio. The debate will be held at the Hawaii Public Television studio and will also be available to viewers on the Internet at

Tonight's debate will be the first time that all of the state's major televisions stations have agreed to carry the same program at the same time.

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