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Sierra Club, UHPA, HGEA Announce NotPono Campaign

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Historic Coalition Calls for Greater Transparency in House District 48 Race

Iolani Palace, HI - The Sierra Club, University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, and Hawaii Government Employees Association have united together to challenge some of the myths put out by the Chong campaign in the House District 48 race in Windward O'ahu.

"We want to make sure voters can make an informed decision," said Randy Perreira, Executive Director of HGEA. "Although our respective organizations represent different interests, we all believe candidates should be selected based on their actual record, and not half-truths and blatant misstatements." 

Over the past three weeks, numerous mailers have been sent out by the Pono Chong campaign. The inundation of mailers could mislead voters to think Pono Chong's voting record is stronger then it actually is, particularly on environmental, education, and economic issues.  

"We've put together a website, NotPono.org, that attempts to distinguish Pono Chong's campaign rhetoric from his actual voting record," said Robert D. Harris, Director of the Hawaii Chapter of the Sierra Club. "Voters should be able to select candidates based on their actual conduct, and not Pono Chong's wishful thinking."

Campaign ads and statements by Chong's campaign suggest he's been protective of Hawaii's environment and opposed big development. "A lie," said Harris. "That's what we call a child who makes up a story that is opposite to the truth. And that's what Chong is doing here. He's consistently attempted to undermine existing environmental regulations to allow for greater development. For example, he supported the Public Lands Development Corporation, which would turn over public land to private developers, and voted to remove zoning and height restrictions near all rail and bus transfer stations."

"Simply stated, Pono Chong has not voted to keep the country, country," said Harris.  

Pono Chong also claims to have helped end Furlough Fridays in our public schools. "When more than half the members of the Legislature signed on to set aside money to prevent Furlough Fridays from ever beginning, Pono Chong refused," said Dennis Vanairsdale, Chair of the Political Endorsement Committee of UHPA. "Seven months and 17 Furlough Fridays later, the legislature finally acted to end Furlough Fridays - after students and teachers had already suffered through the school year."

Pono Chong also claims to support clean energy. "Approximately 20% of construction jobs last year -- during one of the worst recessions in Hawaii’s history -- were in the solar industry," said Colleen Soares, a Sierra Club member and District 48 voter. "And yet, instead of working with the Abercrombie administration and the solar industry to figure out a way to ensure long-term growth, he was the lead proponent of a proposal to gut the incentives driving the solar industry."

The Sierra Club/HGEA/UHPA Coalition is committed to notifying their respective members in the district and using Facebook to direct people to the NotPono.org website.

"This is a unique and historic gathering of different groups," said Perreira. "But the intent of this coalition is simply to ensure people can find out the truth. That’s something this election sorely needs."

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