JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Former Hawaii Govs. Ben Cayetano, left, John Waihee and George Ariyoshi spoke yesterday during a Democratic Party event at Dole Cannery Ballroom in Iwilei. The event's highlight was a panel discussion with the three Democrats, but also included skills-building workshops in campaign organizing, lobbying and public relations.
3 ex-governors boost Dems
Ariyoshi, Waihee and Cayetano share their concerns about the GOP and state issues
In a rare joint appearance, three former Democratic governors participated in a panel to help Oahu Democrats in next year's election.
Former Govs. Ben Cayetano, John Waihee and George Ariyoshi spoke during a skills-building workshop yesterday at the Dole Cannery.
"The Republicans in the Legislature should be irrelevant given their numbers," Cayetano said. "But this is not happening, and it's not happening because I think some Democrats in the Legislature forgot what they are there for."
A participant asked the governors about the difference between a Democrat and Republican. Waihee talked about how funding for nonprofit groups has been delayed under spending policies adopted by Gov. Linda Lingle's administration.
"Yet this governor can tell a business to violate the state's laws, and bring it back into special session and still not release funding to help poor people in the state of Hawaii," Waihee said. "To me, that's what being a Democrat means: We would've helped the poor people, not just a business."
Other attendees asked why Democrats lost the past two gubernatorial elections. Cayetano said former city Mayor Jeremy Harris' sudden pullout of the 2002 race caused some disarray among Democratic ranks, from which they have yet to recover.
Another attendee asked what Oahu's biggest problem will be in the next 10 years. Ariyoshi expressed concern about the affordability of the local housing market.
"Today, the homeless people are our own people," Ariyoshi said. "They have jobs and families and still can't pay for their housing."