Super debate attendees weigh in on what they heard from the cand - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Super debate attendees weigh in on what they heard from the candidates

Concerned residents and Kamehameha School students were among audience members at HNN's Super Debate. (Image: Hawaii News Now) Concerned residents and Kamehameha School students were among audience members at HNN's Super Debate. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Some 400 invited guests gathered at Kamehameha School's Kapalama campus on Monday night for debates featuring Democratic contenders for three key races — lieutenant governor, Hawaii's Congressional District 1 and governor.

The debates come as the election year heats up, and touched on key issues, from homelessness to traffic to disaster preparedness.

"I was a Section 8 kid, and half of my family moved to Vegas because they couldn't afford Hawaii," said Timmy Wailehua, who says that he was most interested in answers surrounding poverty in the islands.

"Whoever we vote for, whatever they do, they will affect the future generations," Wailehua said.

Parts of the debates became heated when candidates brought up opponent's past voting records, or lack of successful legislation.

"I thought that there were some good exchanges," said Kawika Burgess, a debate attendee. "It was interesting to hear the different perspectives on issues like the environment and Hawaii's high cost of living."

Kamehameha Schools students at the debate also had a lot to say about how the candidates performed.

"I thought it was amazing, we saw a nice balance of answers," said one Kamehameha student. "We saw some candidates trying to dodge questions, we also some of good policy being proposed."

There are crowded races for lieutenant governor and for the congressional seat to be vacated by U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

Hanabusa is challenging incumbent David Ige, who's seeking a second term as governor. 

Political analyst Colin Moore said the debates offer candidates a chance to make themselves known to voters.

"They're going to have to make their case somewhat aggressively without being rude. It's a very fine line," Moore said. "This is your moment talk to the voters directly."

He also predicted that the gubernatorial debate would hinge on leadership: Hanabusa was expected to criticize Ige's record of leadership, while Ige was expected to question what Hanabusa has actually accomplished.

"Congresswoman Hanabusa really needed to make her case tonight on why she should replace Gov. Ige and I don't think she did that," Moore said after the gubernatorial debate. "Gov. Ige isn't known as being a strong debater, but he did pretty well for him and I think that gave him the edge."


READ MORE:

Some of Hawaii's most visible politicians vying for office of lieutenant governor
Crowded field of established politicians seeks vacated Congressional seat
As race for governor heats up, Ige and challenger Hanabusa to square off in debate


The lieutenant governor's debate kicked off at 7 p.m., and was followed by the debate for Congressional District 1.

The gubernatorial debate, which started at 9 p.m., rounded out the night.

The action-packed evening came on the heels of HNN's Republican gubernatorial debate, featuring leading candidates John Carroll and state Rep. Andria Tupola.

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