Sierra Club plans to
help candidates financially

The Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter has unveiled its list of endorsements for statewide legislative and county races and promises to put its muscle behind the candidates.

"We have 5,000 members. So there's plenty of volunteer power to put behind our endorsements," said Jeff Mikulina, Hawaii chapter director.

In the 2002 elections, the environmental group focused its efforts behind Tommy Waters, who was running for the 51st state House District seat, representing Lanikai and Waimanalo. Waters' opponent, incumbent Joe Gomes, had earlier received the Sierra Club's lowest score on its environmental scorecard for his votes on environmental issues during his two years in the legislature.

Waters credits the club's support for his victory.

"I think it was huge," Waters said.

Waters said he distributed the scorecard to voters in the district. The Sierra Club also set up a phone bank and called people in Waimanalo and Lanikai encouraging them to vote for Waters, who is being endorsed in this year's election.

For this year's elections, the Sierra Club is putting money behind its endorsements. The group has formed an environmental action committee that has been collecting donations from its members.

"We'll use these funds to financially support mail-outs or personal advertisements," Mikulina said.

The group expects tough races for incumbents Sen. Gary Hooser and Rep. Hermina Morita on Kauai and Rep. Blake Oshiro and Waters on Oahu.

Hooser said ocean runoff from illegal grading is the biggest environmental issue on the Garden Island. Oshiro is a former Sierra Club Oahu Chapter chairman.

Mikulina said the Sierra Club endorsements were based on the candidates' responses to a questionnaire, their record and credibility as a candidate.

Sierra Club's endorsements



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