Some of us were born and raised here, some of us realized our fondest dreams by finally being lucky enough to come and live here, and all of us know, love and appreciate this paradise we are all part of.
So how is it that Hawai'i has one of the worst voter turnouts in all of America? What is it that makes us so apathetic about one of the most important responsibilities one can have-a responsibility that affects us directly and indirectly in so many significant ways?
I don't know the answer.
I suppose some will say it's because "it doesn't really matter who we vote for. They are all the same." Others will say that they "don't have time for politics when the surf is up."
There are a hundred reasons why eligible Hawai'i residents don't vote, but none of them are realistic, logical or legitimate.
Up until this year, I had always hoped that at some point, some day, there would be a major issue on the ballot that would inspire and ignite Hawaiians to get out and go to the polls.
In my opinion, this could be the year!
There are many important issues in the upcoming election and it all starts with this primary on Saturday, Aug. 9-even before the general election on Nov. 4. But our primary this year takes on a special importance. One reason is because there are some renegade (I say that in a positive way) candidates who have been working long and hard to get themselves recognized and get their stances on significant issues out to Maui residents. They have been knocking on hundreds of doors, making thousands of calls, standing for countless hours on the roadside, smiling and waving, holding signs, day after day and week after week, hoping to get their candidacy recognized.
These fresh new faces are committed idealists who are determined to defy the odds and take down some of the familiar names and same old political giants-those who are suspected of being part of the "untouchable ol' boys' network" of politicians-those who are bought and paid for out of the huge pockets of HC&S, Monsanto and the dozens of powerful lobbyists who pull the strings of politics from Wailuku to Honolulu, and even beyond to Washington.
I am not a political expert or genius, but I know that I want my representative to vote for issues that are in the best interests of our island, its ecology, its economy and the health and welfare of all of our residents and keiki. I usually do as much research as I can and I have found the Sierra Club to be a reliable source of information, so I usually vote for their recommended candidates.
I feel these first-time candidates endorsed by the Sierra Club exude lots of positive island energy and stand firm on our most important issues.
Hot topics include the labeling of GMO foods, so we'll know what we're buying. Others include the need for more jobs and cleaner air-if HC&S would cut the sugar cane instead of polluting our beautiful island.
If you want politicians who are not in the pockets of "Big Brah" lobbyists, I recommend you remember the following names on 2014 Primary Election Day, Saturday, Aug. 9. But no matter whom you choose, please take the time to vote on Aug. 9! It could change your life and our environment and our future for the better.
This opinion column is written by Charles Laquidara, who has lived on Maui since 2000. He worked at WBCN radio in Boston for 30 years as the morning-drive host of a show called "The Big Mattress." Email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow his daily ramblings on Facebook.
Candidates Endorsed by the Sierra Club
Terez Amato State Senate District 6 West and South Maui
Gil Keith-Agaran State Senate District 5 Wailuku, Waihe'e, Kahului
Kimo Apana State House District 9 Most of Kahului, Pu'unene, Old Sand Hills,Maui Lani
Kaniela Ing State House District 11 Portions of Kihei, Wailea, Makena
Tamara Paltin Mayor
John Fitzpatrick County Council South Maui
Don Guzman County Council Kahului
Mike Molina County Council Makawao, Ha'iku, Pa'ia
Elle Cochran County Council West Maui
Brian Schatz U.S. Senate
Tulsi Gabbard U.S. House Congressional District 2 Western O'ahu and Neighbor Islands