Aikea coalition to take on Calvin Say

The race for Palolo's State House seat just got interesting.

Ikaika M Hussey

Aikea, a grassroots coalition led and organized by UNITE HERE Local 5, announced today that it will take on one of Hawaii’s most powerful politicians: Calvin Say, the speaker of the State House.

Keiko Bonk, a Green party member and former chair of the Hawaii Island county council, is challenging Say for House District 20, essentially Palolo Valley.

From an email sent today by Local 5 organizer Cade Watanabe:

Our work in House District 20 is not just about House District 20.  Here we have a clear choice between two visions for our community.  We can either settle for the same ‘ole politicians that let mainland companies and big bank developers destroy our land, and our community (by passing laws like PLDC) OR we can elect someone that believes in us.  Someone that will join with us as neighbors to protect our community, our schools, and our way of life.

I attended the May 19 meeting that launched Aikea, and Bonk attended as well. Local 5’s involvement makes Bonk’s campaign much more interesting; the union, which represents about 14,000 hotel workers, has some serious political game, and is emerging as a leader in the progressive wing of Hawaii’s union movement.

Calvin Say responded with the following comment:

I respect Local 5’s right to make the endorsement. I look forward to a positive campaign. If re-elected, I will continue to work with the rank-and-file of all unions, including Local 5.