HONOLULU – Duke Aiona and Lynn Finnegan are setting the record straight today in response to a flurry of Washington-style attack ads by our opponents in print, radio and television.

“My opponent is engaging in a last-minute misinformation campaign right out of his partisan politics-as-usual playbook,” said Duke Aiona. “He can’t defend his record of supporting hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases, so he’s desperately trying to rewrite history in order to gain political favor.”

“We began this grassroots campaign with a simple goal of doing what’s best for the working families and small businesses of Hawai‘i, and we are keeping our focus on real solutions to immediately create job opportunities, strengthen the economy and reform our public education system,” added Aiona. “If we allow our opponents to get away with their Washington-style dirty tricks, the people of Hawai‘i will be left holding a bag full of empty promises and one party in control of state government. My opponent still has yet to answer whether he will raise taxes or cut programs to pay for his empty promises.”

Fact Check – Rail Transit

In a disingeous attempt to curtail the flood of Mufi Hannemann supporters to Duke and Lynn’s grassroots campaign, our opponents are saying Duke Aiona opposes the proposed Honolulu rail transit project.

As a resident of Kapolei, Duke Aiona has always supported mass transit on O‘ahu.

As Governor, he will carefully review the third-party independent financial analysis of the proposed Honolulu rail transit project. When the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project is transmitted to the Governor’s Office, Duke Aiona will base his decision to approve the EIS on the results of the independent financial analysis to ensure there is sufficient funding to complete and maintain the project.

While our opponent said it’s not the job of the Governor to sign off on the Honolulu rail transit project, it is the Governor’s obligation to assess the financial impact of the project on the state’s finances, as the state will be held financially liable if the City and County of Honolulu cannot pay back the money to build, maintain and operate the rail system. The Governor also has the responsibility to the people of Hawai‘i to ensure the program is both environmentally sound and financially viable.

Fact Check – Aloha Airlines

In an attempt to unscrupulously rewrite history, our opponents are saying the Administration did nothing to help the residents who lost their jobs as a result of Aloha Airlines going out of business.

Not only did Duke Aiona and other Administration leaders respond swiftly and decisively, they proactively helped secure the pensions of Aloha Airlines employees, aggressively tried to stop the airline’s shutdown in court and formed a multi-state agency Rapid Response Team on Maui, Kaua‘i, O‘ahu and the Big Island to help Aloha Airlines employees.

The Rapid Response Team assisted approximately 1,900 employees and their families; worked with other carriers to reduce air travel disruptions; worked with hotels to provide accommodations; and had the state counsel ask the bankruptcy court to verify that Yucaipa exhausted all avenues before shutting down.

Aloha Airline’s major owner was Yucaipa, managed and partly owned by billionaire Ron Burkle, a Democratic activist and fundraiser.

Fact Check – School Furloughs

Our opponents want nothing more than to pin school furloughs on Duke Aiona, but those things called “facts” keep getting in the way.

Teacher furloughs on instructional days were the result of a deal reached by the elected Board of Education, Department of Education and Hawai‘i State Teachers Association (HSTA). The Governor signed off on the agreement, which she later said was a mistake.

Duke Aiona has never supported teacher furloughs on instructional days; he consistently advocated for an across-the-board paycut to achieve the labor savings required by the unprecedented budget shortfall resulting from the national and global recession.

An Aiona-Finnegan Administration will not allow teacher furloughs on instructional days, period.

On June 15, as acting Governor, Duke Aiona signed into law House Bill 2486, which establishes a minimum number of hours of instructional time for Hawai`i public school students. Hawai`i was the only state in the nation that did not set by statute the minimum number of hours of instructional time a public school student should receive.

Fact Check – Superferry

Our opponent, deflecting attention from the reality of his actions and voting record, is falsely trying to tie Duke Aiona to the downfall of the Superferry.

The Administration and State Legislature put forth proactive, aggressive and bipartisan efforts to bring the Superferry to Hawai‘i. In an historic Special Session of the State Legislature, Senate President Hanabusa and House Speaker Say worked hand-in-hand with the Administration, as well as their colleagues in both houses, to ensure Hawai‘i residents had the benefit of a new mode of interisland transportation.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration said the Superferry could operate without an environmental review. The state Department of Transportation, the state Office of Environmental Quality Control and two State courts reached the same conclusion.

The fact is that the decision to stop the Superferry was the result of a Supreme Court ruling, which was a far-reaching interpretation that until then had never been applied to any new maritime operation in the state.

With Administration support of the Superferry, it was able to transport more than 250,000 people and thousands of tons of cargo between O‘ahu and Maui.

Now that our opponent is in a tight race after he took lightly the people of Hawai‘i’s desire for balanced, honest and fiscally responsible leadership, he is playing from his Washington playbook of dirty tricks in an attempt to rewrite history and deflect attention away from his record of raising taxes, growing government and failing to deliver on his promises.

Submitted by Travis Taylor, Communications Director for the Aiona-Finnegan Campaign

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