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Race for No. 2 spot has a lot to choose from

The Democratic primary for lieutenant governor has shaped up to be a most unusual race. There are so many good candidates to chose from, and they're each substantial in their own way. The field of candidates is diverse, accomplished and, frankly, overqualified for the vague duties of being number two to the likes of David Ige or Colleen Hanabusa.

There's a doctor, a lawyer, a former NFL player, a former aide to Mazie Hirono, and Will Espero, who, under that hat, is a well-traveled Navy brat with a business degree and a penchant for writing poetry.

Any one of them would be a valuable resource for either Ige or Hanabusa, adding warmth and personality to what will otherwise be a drab administration. Any one of them would be a welcome distraction from the boss's prickly ways and vengeful tendencies. Any one of them would bring great ideas that aren't currently being discussed in the governor's race. If you were holding a career day or bon dance or awards banquet and were told, "Sorry, the governor can't come. The LG will be there instead," it would be like, "YESSSS!"

These candidates have each made a pretty good pitch for how the LG’s office could be more than just a do-nothing job or a place to bide one's time while dreaming of Washington Place or Washington, D.C. They all talk about wanting to do something significant and tangible, about being able to work with the governor, and, as Kim Coco Iwamoto put it, being able to work around the governor if need be. With this election, the days of the almost- invisible LG may be over, especially if the hugely charismatic, diplomatically decisive and larger-than-life Bernard Carvalho is in office. With Carvalho as LG, no one would remember or care who the governor is.

There's no clear best. They'd all be good for different reasons. And when they get together, they seem like congenial, well-adjusted professionals who probably would get along really well and do good things together. Imagine that.

How about this? Maybe LG can be a group project, like one of those creative work teams at Google. They can all be in office and take turns being the leader. Josh Green can work on lobbying for health laws. Will Espero can keep poking at law enforcement. Kim Coco Iwamoto can keep an eye on the BOE and the DOE. Jill Tokuda can work on fixing homelessness and dogging the spending on rail. With the recent Kauai flooding, Bernard Carvalho has proven himself really good in a crisis. If somebody pushes the alert button again, Carvalho would run out there to try to catch the missile in his massive arms, and if it's another false alarm, he will speak candidly in the post-incident press conferences and say, "Yup. Our bad. E kala mai. We sorry, yeah? You folks OK?"

Dang it, why aren't any of them running for governor?

Lee Cataluna
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Paid for by Friends of Bernard Carvalho
PO Box 3510
Līhu‘e, Hawai‘i 96766
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