Candidates should explore solutions, not self-success


POSTED: Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This is the season to explore.

Politicians, like so many horses in a herd, raise their heads and sniff the winds awaiting direction. Will they go right, go left, turn back home or dash out for new ground?

Already in August we will have U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie exploring his first full month home after declaring his wish to become governor.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann is exploring his own viability as a gubernatorial candidate.

State Senate president Colleen Hanabusa is exploring a race for Congress in Abercrombie's soon-to-be vacant 1st District.

For politicians, “;exploring”; usually means finding and making friends and tapping them for campaign cash.

Candidates explore their supporters by drafting petitions calling for them to launch campaigns for a better job or a promotion.

Those who claim to be “;issue-oriented”; explore by sending you surveys.

Imagine how next year's elections would turn out if our political class, instead of exploring who loves them, started exploring what they will do to make Hawaii better.

According to CNBC, Hawaii is the second-worst place in the country for business. The only place ranked lower was Alaska.

Who can find Hawaii's business center, how big is it, will it get bigger or disappear? Is it thriving and growing or on life support? Who will support business in Hawaii, what can be done to make Hawaii more friendly to business? Who believes that if business does not grow, there will be nobody to pay the taxes?

If aspiring political leaders were to explore Hawaii's public education system would they say: “;Leave well enough alone, don't touch it, no sense tampering with success.”; Or would they say: “;Throw everything out, start over from scratch?”;

Who is exploring Hawaii's medical insurance system? Is it working, how is it going to be ready for the huge increases in Medicare costs?

And what about Hawaii's whole financial system? How great is it that every time the economy hiccups, the state declares a financial crisis? Should Hawaii's taxes provide financial stability, or it a good thing that the state treasury goes up and down more than an EK Fernandez carnival ride?

There are no right or wrong answers to those questions, but the politician who asks and answers them is further along than someone brandishing a list of fat-cat supporters or $1 million in the bank.


Richard Borreca writes on politics every Wednesday. Reach him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)