Former Senator Hee announces candidacy to be Hawaii's next governor
Former state senator Clayton Hee is the latest candidate to enter the race to be Hawaii's next governor.
HONOLULU - Former Democratic state Senator Clayton Hee is the latest candidate to enter the race to be Hawaii's next governor. Hee announced his candidacy on social media Tuesday morning.
In the nearly two minute long video post, the 64-year-old lists what motivated him to run which include the mismanagement of Honolulu's rail line and Hawaii's affordable housing shortage.
If Hee gets his way, Hawaii would offset its high cost of living with two potentially hot-button ways to raise money.
"Legalizing recreational marijuana...another initiative would be a state lottery so that Hawaii would join the other 48 states. These would bring hundreds of millions of dollars," said Hee.
Hee joins Governor David Ige and United States Representative Colleen Hanabusa on a packed Democratic ticket. He said it'll take a shift in leadership to keep future generations from seeking affordable housing elsewhere.
"There's going to be a groundswell of young people who will insist that Hawaii is their home too. If housing is not affordable, government needs to get involved to make it affordable," Hee said.
Island News political analyst Neal Milner said Hee could become a spoiler for both Ige and Hanabusa.
"You really have two candidates from which there's not a lot of enthusiasm. In terms of election arithmetic, you steal votes from the others. You don't need the majority," said Milner.
Hee brings some baggage to the race. In 2016, his brother Albert was convicted of tax fraud after a highly publicized court trial revealed he used more than $6 million in federal funds for personal expenses
"He made some bad choices and like others who made bad choices he's paying the consequences. I still love him but that's a separate issue," Hee said.
Hee was last in the political spotlight in 2014 when he was defeated by Shan Tsutsui in Hawaii's lieutenant governor race.
Hee's political background stretches back to the 1980's when he served as state representative and state senator.
The Kamehameha graduate also served as chairman for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. He returned to the Senate in 2004.
Others notable contenders who have announced plans to run on the Republican ticket include State Rep. Andria Tupola and John Carroll.
Gov. Ige said he welcomes Hee to the race.
Rep. Hanabusa released a statement:
“We welcome the opportunity to compare ideas and vision with others who agree our state deserves effective leadership. This election will be about who the people of Hawaii believe has the clearest vision, ability and experience to guide our state into the next decade. From Waianae to Washington, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa’s journey of public service has prepared her to serve as our next governor."