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Hawaiʻi teachers union drops endorsement of U.S. Rep. Ed Case in favor of Sergio Alcubilla

Sergio Alcubilla runs for congress in 2022 democratic primary election
Casey Harlow
The Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association endorses Sergio Alcubilla for Hawaiʻi's 1st Congressional District, currently held by U.S. Rep. Ed Case. (June 7, 2022)

Hawaiʻi’s public school teachers union is supporting Sergio Alcubilla for the 1st Congressional District seat, currently held by U.S. Rep. Ed Case.

The Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association announced its support for Alcubilla instead of Case in the upcoming Democratic primary election. Teachers and Alcubilla supporters stood outside the HSTA headquarters on Tuesday afternoon.

Union president Osa Tui Jr. says Alcubilla is a better choice to represent the people of Hawaiʻi. The 1st Congressional District covers most of Oʻahu's urban areas.

"Sergio comes from a working-class family, he comes from immigrant roots, and he more represents our membership, the students that we serve, the families that we serve, and the families of Hawaiʻi. And he’s not beholden to the corporate interests, and things like that," the union president said.

Tui says Case's opposition to the Biden Administration’s Build Back Better plan showed the union that he was out of touch with local families and teachers who needed additional support.

But he says that wasn’t the only thing.

Sergio Alcubilla HSTA campaign 060722
Casey Harlow
HSTA President Osa Tui Jr. and Sergio Alcubilla, center, with supporters on June 7, 2022.

"We’ve seen that he’s backed many of the corporate policies, and things like that. And he’s even made missteps like saying that he’s an Asian trapped in a white person’s body — things like that. So it just goes to all talk about how out of touch he is with us here in Hawaiʻi," Tui said.

Alcubilla, a Democrat, says local educators deserve more support.

"The biggest issue for me is just knowing that teachers have to work an extra job just to do the work that they love. What can we do to better support our teachers, so that our teachers don’t feel like they have to leave public school education in order to survive?" Alcubilla said.

Alcubilla says he would like to explore options to give federal resources to teachers, and give educators benefits similar to those given to military personnel.

The HSTA says it represents 13,500 public school teachers statewide.

Hawaiʻi's 2nd Congressional District, currently held by U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele, is an open seat this year due to Kahele's campaign for governor.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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