HSTA mostly backs current officeholders
The union for the state's 13,000 public school teachers is supporting mostly incumbent lawmakers -- both Democrats and Republicans -- in next month's primary elections.
The Hawaii State Teachers Association, which has backed U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie in their re-election bids, announced last week its recommendations for the state Legislature and Board of Education.
For the Board of Education, HSTA is endorsing Mary Cochran (Maui), Eileen Clarke (Central), John Penebacker (Windward) and Karen Knudsen, Terrance Tom and Ruth Tschumy for three at-large seats.
In the Legislature, the union backed mostly sitting lawmakers and Democrats in districts where the incumbent was vacating the seat. The union also backed Democrats against three incumbent Republicans who face no primary opposition.
» Sensita Moepono over Rep. Corinne Ching (R, Nuuanu-Liliha), a former teacher at Maemae Elementary School.
» Jane Sugimura over Rep. Lynn Finnegan (R, Mapunapuna-Foster Village).
» Sharon Har over Rep. Mark Moses (R, Makakilo-Kapolei).
The union also is supporting Democrat Karl Rhoads, who is challenging incumbent Rep. Bev Harbin (D, Kakaako-Downtown) in the primary.
"We looked at candidates' stands on the issues facing public education at both the local and national levels," HSTA President Roger Takabayashi said in a news release.
Akaka backers fold 10,000 lucky cranes
Ten thousand folded cranes showing support for U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka's re-election campaign were unveiled yesterday in front of a large gathering at the Japanese Cultural Center.
"It's tremendous. We're just so pleased and excited," said Ruth Ono, event chairwoman. About 600 people showed up at the event.
The cranes, a Japanese symbol of fortune and longevity, were folded during the last two months by hundreds of supporters who back the senator's re-election campaign. All 10,000 cranes were signed and hung on a potted tree that was to be transferred to the campaign headquarters.
The last two cranes were placed on the tree by Akaka and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who also spoke in support of Akaka. Akaka, 81, is seeking his third full term against challenger and U.S. Rep. Ed Case, 53.