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Friday, October 27, 2000

Campaign 2000


GOP challenger
criticizes incumbent
Ito’s effectiveness
on public schools

With education a top issue for most candidates, Democratic state Rep. Ken Ito can proudly point to his service as chairman of the House Education Committee for the past two years.

But Ito's general election opponent, Republican Sam Moku, said just because Ito has been at the helm of education legislation, that doesn't mean he's improved the public schools.

"When you're part of that committee, you tend not to ask the hard questions," Moku said. "It's not necessarily an advantage being part of the committee because sometimes the very ones who know about the system are not fighting for the teachers' cause."

Moku said he would bring an outsider's point of view to the Legislature. He said his 10 years of coaching high school track helped him gain insight on education issues, especially in helping develop student athletes.

"I'm definitely 100 percent for the teachers. They have a very tough position for the amount of funding they get and I'm someone who understands what the teachers are going through."

Ito said the people he has talked to are pleased with what he's done as education chairman with educational accountability, playgrounds and special education. He said he would like to return to the Legislature to tackle some unfinished business on special education, teacher quality issues and trying to address an expected shortage in school administrators.

And he says there are other issues Kaneohe residents are concerned about.

"Older people are concerned about the cost of health care, they want to know what the state is doing with long-term care and what's the status," Ito said.

He said younger voters have different concerns. "They want jobs, they're worried about education for their kids, facilities for schools," he said.

Moku said his strength lies in issues affecting small businesses. For example, he's not in favor of raising the minimum wage because it's an added cost that's passed on to consumers. "It almost negates raising the minimum wage."

What would offer more financial relief, he believes, is doing away with taxes on food, medicine and rent.

Crystal Kua, Star-Bulletin

HOUSE District 48


Ken Ito (D)
Occupation: Legislator
Background: Former public-school teacher; elected in 1994

Sam Moku (R)
Occupation: Small business consultant
Background: High-school track coach; board of directors, UH Letter Winner's Club Election Results
State Office of Elections

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