Unions Endorse State House Candidate Deidre Tegarden

April 8, 2016, 12:03 PM HST · Updated April 8, 12:03 PM
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(Left to right) Jason Medeiros, Clyde Hayashi, Barry Aoki, Gino Soquena, Deidre Tegarden, Tom Donovan, William "Willy" Greig and Joseph Aquino at Tegarden's press conference. Courtesy photo.

(Left to right) Jason Medeiros, Clyde Hayashi, Barry Aoki, Gino Soquena, Deidre Tegarden, Tom Donovan, William “Willy” Greig and Joseph Aquino at Tegarden’s press conference. Courtesy photo.

Five labor unions and a local nonprofit representing thousands of Maui workers officially endorsed Deidre Tegarden, Democratic candidate for the Hawai‘i State House of Representatives, District 11, (Kīhei, Wailea, Mākena), at a press conference held at her campaign headquarters in Kīhei on Thursday, April 7.

Representatives and members of the following unions and an association attended the conference:

  • The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), Local 142
  • State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO)
  • Hawaii Operating Engineers, Local 3 (OE3)
  • The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), Local 368
  • Hawaii Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust (LECET)
  • The Maui Hotel & Lodging Association (MHLA)

“The more than 7,000 members of ILWU, Local 142, Maui Division, strongly endorse and unanimously support the candidacy of Deidre Tegarden for the Hawai‘i State House of Representatives, District 11,” representatives stated before the event. “Her desire is to serve our community in the best way she can—with excellence, integrity and equality for all. Deidre is exactly who we need in the State Legislature.”

Detective Barry Aoki, chapter chairman of SHOPO, said his 3,000-member police union endorses Tegarden for many reasons.

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“She has worked with the police in the past, and is dedicated to public safety and the safety of our officers,” Detective Aoki said. “I first worked with her in 2001, when she was assistant director of Hula Bowl Maui. She’s a hard worker, that’s for sure… and she is very familiar with the processes of government.

“When she was the state’s chief of protocol, she worked closely with county, state and federal agencies,” Aoki added. “She’s not a rookie. She knows how government works. She genuinely listens to the community as a whole and not just certain interest groups.”

William ‘Willy’ Greig, Maui County business representative for OE3, thanked Tegarden for her support of veterans and senior citizens. OE3 represents about 200 members on Maui and about 2,000 statewide, according to Greig.

“We have veterans and retirees in our membership who served our country, and like Deidre, we would like to see her vision realized for a new and improved Veterans Hall here in Kīhei,” said Greig. “I’ve gotten to know her, and she wants to look after our elderly and our veterans as well as our Local 3 members.

“We excavate for roadways, water and sewer, infrastructure, anything that has to do with heavy equipment,” said Greig. “It’s because she has an open mind and the vision to better South Maui and the whole of Maui in its entirety that we endorse her.”

Gino Soquena, government and community relations director of LIUNA, Local 368, said Tegarden understands the issues that are important to his union.

“We represent the workers in the trenches,” said Soquena. “Construction is our bread and butter and she is more concerned with things like infrastructure; more aligned with us on those things. She supports our guys and we can work with her.

“When she worked in Gov. [Neil] Abercrombie’s office, we had a good relationship,” said Soquena. “She is a good communicator and easy to work with.”

LIUNA, Local 368, has a statewide membership of 5,000 constructions workers, according to Peter Ganaban, business manager/secretary-treasurer.

“We were really glad to hear Deidre was running for office,” said Clyde Hayashi, director of LECET. “We are excited to be an early supporter of her because we know she is focused on local families, jobs, housing and schools, and not the sensational political and social issues that are out there.”

Tom Donovan, general manager of the Grand Wailea resort, represented MHLA at the event.

The MHLA membership collectively employs over 20,000 local residents, said Lisa Paulson, MHLA executive director, in a written statement endorsing Tegarden.

“MHLA was established in 1987 and is a nonprofit organization representing Maui County’s visitor industry on policymaking and industry-related issue on the county and state government levels,” said Paulson.

“We are the largest employer of residents on the island, directly employing approximately 40% of all residents—indirectly, the percentage increases to 75%,” said Paulson.

“Deidre Tegarden is a strong advocate for our industry and we couldn’t be more pleased to show our support. We look forward to her leadership in the State House,” said Paulson.

For more information, visit www.VoteTegarden.com.

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