Lt. Gov. Josh Green officially kicked off his campaign for governor Thursday with a Hawaii News Now television appearance and the release of a polished video stressing his credentials as a physician and his role in helping the state cope with the pandemic.

Green, a Democrat, represented West Hawaii in the state House and Senate from 2004 until 2018, when he was elected lieutenant governor.

His announcement came as no surprise, since Green has obviously had his sights set on the governor’s office for years. A Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll earlier this week found that 58% of likely Democratic primary voters would have picked Green if the election for governor had been held last month.

HomeAid Hawaii Opens Doors at Kama’okū. Lt. Governor Josh Green speaks during opening ceremonies.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green officially kicked off his campaign for governor on Thursday. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

That is a spectacular lead for any candidate to hold seven months before the primary election, but the dynamics of the race may change. U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele has said he is seriously considering running for governor, which could lead to a more crowded, less predictable Democratic primary.

Businesswoman and former Hawaii First Lady Vicky Cayetano and former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell are also running. The primary election will be held Aug. 13.

Green also leads in the jockeying for political funding, with his latest state report showing he has $1.2 million in cash on hand to finance his campaign.

“Our fight against COVID has shown me that more than ever we need elected leaders we can trust, who care about people,” Green said in his campaign video. “That’s why I’m running for governor.”

Green also pledged to take action on the perennial political issues of affordable housing, Hawaii’s high cost of living, and “the homeless crisis.” He cited his efforts to provide housing and health care for people living on the streets.

“I’ll stand up for working people and finally sign into law paid family leave and a true living wage,” Green said. “But above all, I’ll do everything I can, every day, to keep us safe and informed, to tell you the truth, and continue to care for Hawaii’s families,” Green said in his statement.

Green is an emergency room physician, and although the office of lieutenant governor has few official responsibilities, he has filled a role as the state Covid liaison during the pandemic.

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