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    Democrat Green defeats Aiona to be Hawaii’s next governor

    HONOLULU (AP) – Lt Gov Josh Green, a Democrat, on Tuesday defeated Republican former Lt Gov Duke Aiona to be Hawaii’s next governor and vowed to tackle the state’s most stubborn problems.

    “Tonight is the first day of that new era where our leaders must start doing more to listen, to care and to work on issues that matter to all of us, that matter to you,” Green told a crowd at the Democratic Party’s election celebration.

    He said his election was about the dreams and aspirations of Hawaii’s people.

    “We will take on the problems that have seemed too difficult to solve or have it impossible to engage,” he said.

    Both Green and Aiona focussed on Hawaii’s debilitating housing costs as the most important issue of their campaigns and their prospective administrations.

    Hawaii Gov-elect Josh Green and Lt Gov-elect Sylvia Luke wave to supporters. PHOTO: AP

    Statewide, the median price for a single-family home topped USD900,000 during the coronavirus pandemic. That’s among the highest in the nation, even though many in Hawaii work in low-wage tourism and service industry jobs. On Oahu, the median is over USD1 million.

    Green said he would encourage the construction of 10,000 new housing units to help address the housing shortage. He aims to crack down on vacation rentals and tax vacant houses to encourage property owners to open up their empty dwellings for residents to rent.

    Green has served as second-in-command to Hawaii Governor David Ige for the past four years. Prior to that, he was a state senator and representative.

    Green was a doctor in rural areas on the Big Island before entering politics. He has continued working part-time as a physician while in the state Legislature and as lieutenant governor.

    Green developed a following during the COVID-19 pandemic for his explanations of infection rates and trends and hospital treatment capacity.

    Green was born in Kingston, New York, and grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He moved to Hawaii with the National Health Service Corps in 2000.

    Green was heavily favoured to beat Aiona, who unsuccessfully ran for the office in 2010 and 2014.

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