Governor to visit Puna Wednesday

Published: Aug. 12, 2014 at 9:26 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 13, 2014 at 9:49 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Governor Neil Abercrombie is coming off a crushing defeat in the Democratic primary, but he is still head of state for four more months.  Now he's taking some heat for using a personal day Monday in the middle of a crisis in Puna following Hurricane Iselle.

Governor Abercrombie was in meetings today and decided he will go to the Big Island Wednesday afternoon.

The more images that come in the worse the situation in Puna feels.

"It's like living in a war zone," said Barbara Mora, Pahoa.

Thousands of people are still without power or water.  Dozens of homes have been damaged or destroyed and they're asking for help and leadership.

"They don't even care. They're living it there right now. Everybody down here is struggling," said Aaron Gomes, Puna.

"I think he should be here, at least for support and show he cares," said Penny Davis, Leilani Estates.

"I think he needs to have his boots over here. It's bad. It's bad in Pahoa, my God, everywhere there. It's crazy," said Mora.

The Hawaii Republican Party is criticizing the state for forcing the election down people's throats this Friday.

"I just don't feel that voting should be ahead of survival," said Pat Saiki, Hawaii Republican Party Chair. "I'm sure more people would feel more secure about their surroundings, get their electricity back, get their lives back in order again before they can consider voting for anyone or anything. Let's give them a break, let's check our priorities here."

They also question Governor Abercrombie saying he should be out there in the hardest hit area.

"That's a shame. That's not like him at all. I would think he would be out there," said Saiki. "Yes he should be. I don't see why he wasn't."

Republican gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona went over Monday and helped distribute food and water. He says the election should not be held this Friday.

"I think you have to give it some time. It really is emotional out there. You have to be on the ground to feel that and to see it. That's what I did yesterday. I felt it and I saw it," said Aiona.

Governor Abercrombie is planning to fly to the Big Island Wednesday afternoon.  He was not in the office yesterday because we're told the 76-year-old didn't get much sleep after the hurricane operations and primary, but he was in communication with the National Guard on disaster assessments.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Ige and Independent candidate Mufi Hannemann are both planning on going to the Big Island and are coordinating the visits with Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi.  Hannemann plans to be on the ground on Thursday.

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