HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In his campaign, the governor touts Hawaii as the first state to uphold the Paris Climate Change Accord and his endorsement by the Sierra Club.
But during an environmental forum Thursday, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa claims Gov. David Ige sided with Republicans when he voted against Legacy Lands legislation as a state senator.
"That's why it's kind of troubling because when that bill passed in 2005, we had five Republicans in the House and five Republicans in the Senate and David Ige was the only Democrat who voted against legacy lands," she said.
The Legacy Lands Act allows the state to acquire and protect undeveloped lands like the Ka Iwi Coastline and Turtle Bay. The governor did not address the specifics of his vote, but says he supports the Legacy Lands program.
"As Colleen had mentioned, we do have a legacy land fund that we've been using to acquire important parcels all around the state a few parcels up at Haleakala in recent times looking at a critical habitats and those sensitive lens that we want to add to the public trust so that we can be certain that we control the lens as we make investments to improve the habitats," Ige said.
The forum was hosted by the Hawaii Conservation Alliance Foundation at the Hawaii Convention Center,
After the gathering, the squabble continued in written statements,
"David Ige often decides to be supportive of Democrat values only during election years," said Hanabusa's campaign.
Ige's campaign responded, saying "voters will agree that her record with the environment is thin at most."
The two also dispute who should take credit for the protection of Turtle Bay — announced by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in 2014 and then completed by Ige a year later.
At the forum, Republican candidates for governor, state Rep. Andria Tupola and former state Sen. John Carroll, also promoted their own environmental credentials and ideas.