It’s one week before the November 6th General Election and candidates are down to the home stretch.
State House District 40 includes Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry and Iroquois Point in West O’ahu. Incumbent, Bob McDermott, is one of 4 Republicans in the 51-member House of Representatives. His priority is funding for public school facilities.
“Campbell High School still needs an athletic facility. You know, the school was built in 1960, no upgrades, we don’t have a girl’s locker room. And the, Ilima Intermediate School, was the original Campbell High School, it hasn’t had any improvements since it was built.”
James Campbell is the largest High School in the state with 32-hundred students. Challenger, Democrat Rose Martinez, has run 3 times against McDermott and says better use of public education funding is her priority.
“We only have $7-billion budget for entire State of Hawai’i. Over 2 billion of that budget goes to public school. That’s one-third of our budget so I think we can get better use of the budget that we already have.”
McDermott says he has been fighting hard for public school facilities and even sued the state Department of Education.
“When the Democrats were spending $170-million to build Kihei High School on Maui, it’s not on the Department of Education priority list. Campbell was number one. And that’s why you need a two party system to call out bull-crap because the Democrats will sit there and keep their mouth shut because they are told to.”
Martinez says she’ll work with her fellow Democrats to get things done for the district. She also says crime is a big concern for many residents in Ewa.
“You know, I live here for over 20 years. Where I used to live, I was robbed 3 times. And, a few months ago, my husband was robbed at gun point. So everything in the car was taken out. He even took his wallet.”
But, McDermott says, community volunteers are keeping homelessness and crime rates low.
“We don’t have a lot of homelessness. We don’t have a lot of crime. And a lot of that’s due to the activities of Kurt Favella and the Lions Club. They’re on it. Ewa Beach is home of the chain link fence and Pit Bull. So there is some deterrence there.”
Democrat Martinez is counting on the 30 percent of Ewa residents who are of Filipino ancestry to vote for her.
“I’m winning this time because I have been working so hard, I’ve been talking to a lot of people and I can see the positive response from the Community.”
Republican McDermott says the majority of Ewa voters are conservative and his GOP seat is safe.
“Yeah. And she’ll get 2-thousand votes and I’ll get 3-thousand. That’s the way things work. I’m gonna win.”
For HPR News, I’m Wayne Yoshioka.