Mazie Hirono and Linda Lingle
Mazie Hirono and Linda Lingle

BY BOB LEE – The latest political distraction from the real issues facing Hawaii families and businesses from the Democrat Senatorial Congressional Committee (DSSC) and their partisan candidate, Mazie Hirono, has nothing to do with any genuine concern by Washington Democrats over equal pay.

As a point of fact, Hirono repeatedly claimed three years ago that the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act already achieved this very goal.  At that time, Hirono said “The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act restores fairness to any employee who has been paid less than their coworkers.” [Source 1]

Moreover, less than two months ago she stated in her prepared remarks on Equal Pay Day, and that “on January 29, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This law makes it easier for women to challenge pay discrimination and applies to workers who file claims of discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, religion, age, or disability.” [2]

Hirono and the DSCC’s latest attempted hit piece has nothing to do with equal pay and everything to do with Hirono  and her political operatives trying to score political points.  Unlike Hirono, Governor Linda Lingle does not engage in political gamesmanship.

In 2004, State House Bill 2025, which had a purpose of ‘prohibit[ing] employers from discriminating against employees in the payment of wages because of gender and to establish a four-year pay equity task force under the Office of the Governor,’ came to her desk for signature. She rightfully vetoed it. [3]

Being the common-sense executive she was (and still is), Governor Lingle noted in her objections to the bill that ‘state law already prohibits employers, including the State and its political subdivisions, from discriminating on the basis of sex.’ [4]  Furthermore, the ‘scope of review for this task force is broad and vague’ and . . . ‘unnecessary.’ [5]  Overriding her veto and creating the task force, the Hawaii Legislature soon found itself receiving a report from the very task force it created, recommending that the legislature ‘clarify the scope of [their] duties’ and that because the legislatures’ directives were so vague, ‘an attempt to perform a job match proved to be fruitless.’ [6] In other words, the legislators wasted the taxpayers’ time and money.

Unfortunately for the people of Hawaii, this political gamesmanship continues in Washington where Hirono has proven that she would rather repeat the national talking points, attempt to stir up a controversy and vote along party lines, than provide the people of Hawaii with meaningful legislative guidance as Governor Lingle often did during her two full terms as Maui mayor and two full terms as Hawaii’s chief executive.

Thankfully the people of Hawaii have a clear choice when it comes to the future of the open Hawaii U.S. Senate seat. If elected as Hawaii’s next U.S. Senator, Governor Lingle will remain laser-focused on developing and passing common sense and meaningful bipartisan legislation aimed at stimulating job growth, expanding the economy and helping to build a stronger quality of life for all the people of Hawaii.

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