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BOARD OF EDUCATION
Heftel receives most
The Hawaii State Teachers Association had endorsed Heftel and Toguchi, while Gov. Linda Lingle backed a separate slate committed to replacing the statewide system with several school boards. Ching was the only one of her candidates to make the cut in the Oahu at-large race yesterday.
"It's not just the slate that's important, it's the message," said Ching, who placed sixth in that race. "What it's about is real decentralization."
The teacher-endorsed candidates generally fared well. Incumbents Denise Matsumoto in the Honolulu district and Herbert Watanabe on the Big Island are headed for the general election in comfortable positions after strong showings yesterday. On Kauai, retired principal Maggie Cox, a first-time candidate backed by HSTA, will face former board member Mitsugi Nakashima.
Board Chairman Breene Harimoto, supported by the teachers' union, and retired police officer Shad Kane, backed by the governor, automatically face a runoff in November because they are the only two candidates for the Leeward Oahu seat.
Some voters relied on their own instincts. John Marshall, a physician who lives in Pacific Heights, brought his handwritten list, featuring members of both slates, with him to the voting booth.
"I looked at who appeared well qualified, based on their backgrounds," he said. "In the last election, I was caught off guard with the BOE. This time I was glad I had read about it beforehand."
HSTA President Roger Takabayashi said 30 teachers spent 20 hours interviewing candidates to produce the union's endorsements. "As teachers, we did our homework," he said.
Still, many voters depended on a time-tested formula: name recognition.
"I went with familiar names, which is probably not the best way to vote," Christina Villanueva, a substitute teacher in Honolulu, said with a sheepish smile.
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