Green seeks Whalen's Senate seat
The 2008 political campaign season has started early on the Big Island.
Democratic state Rep. Josh Green, an emergency room doctor and chairman of the House Health Committee, said he plans to challenge incumbent GOP Sen. Paul Whalen for his seat representing Milolii-Waimea.
Meanwhile, state Sen. Lorraine Inouye (D, Hilo-Honokaa) said she is considering a run for mayor, to succeed Harry Kim, who is bound by term limits from seeking office again.
"I'm considering it, but I haven't made a decision yet," Inouye said, adding that she expects to make a decision by year's end.
Inouye previously served as Big Island mayor from 1990 to 1992.
Green plans to formally announce his candidacy at an event May 19 at Kahakai Elementary School in Kailua-Kona.
"West Hawaii deserves better representation than we have had in the state Senate for the last six years," Green (D, Keauhou-Honokohau) said yesterday. "West Hawaii deserves a state senator who shows up for work every day, comes to the Capitol for all of the votes and doesn't back down."
Whalen, who served in the House before winning election to the Senate, did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment yesterday.
Whalen won election to the Senate in 2002, defeating Virginia Isbell by 1,443 votes. He faced a tougher re-election bid in 2004, winning by 805 votes over Democratic challenger Steven Fox.