Senator Clayton Hee announces candidacy

Published On: May 11 2014 06:44:58 PM HST

Mother's Day didn't keep dozens of supporters of Senator Clayton Hee away from Iolani Palace.

On Sunday, he made a big announcement.

"I am as you well know, announcing my candidacy for Lt. Governor," said Hee.

Hee made his announcement at Iolani Palace surrounded by heavy hitters, Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, former Governor Ben Cayetano and Abigail Kawananakoa.

He'll be running in the Democratic primary against incumbent Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui. Tsutsui took the office when Governor Neil Abercrombie appointed Brian Shatz to replace the late U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye's office.

This is the second go for the state senator. He ran for Lt. Governor in 2002 and for Congress in 2006, he failed in both efforts.

"I have been successful in some things and unsuccessful in others, but I always believe when you get bucked off the second time don't let it be the same reason the first time, but get up and get back in that saddle," said Hee.

"Essentially, he's putting it right out in front. I'm the candidate whose well known. I'm the candidate who speaks for Hawaiians, and he's been involved in a lot of Hawaiian issues with his position in the senate," said political analyst Neal Milner.

"If it wasn't for Senator Hee our palace would not be completed as quickly as we had," said supporter Abigail Kawananakoa.

"He brings everything to the table that you look for in a leader. He's courageous, he's principled, and I'll support him no matter who emerges as gubernatorial candidate," said former governor Ben Cayetano.

To prove his record in the legislature, Hee brought props. A $10.10 picture represents his role to get minimum wage raised. A GillAction award for helping a marriage equality law pass in Hawaii November of 2013. He also brought a plaque from the Humane Society for being an advocate for animal welfare.

"We believe based on the research we did that we can be successful. Ten years ago I might have done it just to do it. Ten years later at my age we want to be sure we know how deep the pool is before we jump in," said Hee.

"Hee is relatively well known for a state senator he is visible, but that visibility comes with controversy. He is a very outspoken guy. He can be very brusk so that he has to take that along with him," said Milner.

Tsutsui released a statement on Sunday saying in part, "I am humbled by the support I've received from the people of Hawaii and I look forward to a spirited campaign that will allow us to take our message to the voters."


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