Hawaii LG Candidate Junior Tupai Duke Appears Too A lot Like Aona


Hawaii Republican lieutenant governor candidate Seyola “Jr” Tupai does not assume she and her working mate Duke Aona have many variations.

His previous statements on social media, information interviews and different boards might point out in any other case. Taking a look at these alone, Tupai is a pro-life, pro-gun activist and election denial who disagree with authorities mandates through the pandemic.

He nonetheless thinks that the federal government mandates have been too harsh. However because the main incident of August 13, Tupai has softened his public statements and now appears to be extra in sync with Ayona on a spread of points.

“Perhaps it was the messaging or the packaging. However ultimately, backside line, we align,” Tupai says.

Left, lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Junior Tupai and gubernatorial candidate Duke Aona call a press conference from the Ige/Green administration to convene a legislature special session to address a criminal and public safety issue.
Junior Tupai, left, the lieutenant authorities candidate, believes he and Duke Aona are actually “eye-to-eye” on their speaking factors and messaging. Corey Lum/Civil Beat/2022

In an in depth interview with Civil Beat, Tupai, like Aona, stated that coverage selections on abortion in Hawaii needs to be left to the Legislature, and that he would settle for the result of future elections.

Thus far, Iona and Tupai have not gone too removed from one another. They seem collectively at press conferences, and Tupai calls Aona a “appropriate adviser”.

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That is in stark distinction to the working of Andrea Tupola and outspoken businesswoman Marisa Kerns in 2018. Kerns, Tupola’s LG working mate, publicly questioned Tupola’s voting document as a legislator and his conservatism. She additionally complained about her alleged remedy by Tupola and the GOP.

The 2 by no means actually represented a lot of a united entrance, and the federal government misplaced 61% to 33% to David Ige and Lieutenant Gov. Josh Inexperienced.

This result’s anticipated to be prevented by Tupai and Iona.

bridging divides

Tupa’i used to be born and raised in San Jose, California. His dad and mom, who’re from American Samoa, moved to Hawaii to work at Kalihi Church beneath Rev. Eddie Loulu.

Tupa’i served as a coach for the youth problem program in Hilo in addition to a soccer coach for Hilo Excessive College till 2016. Working with youngsters in each settings, a few of whom have been out of college, impressed them to work for his or her dad and mom. ‘ church.

“I noticed the youngsters weren’t the issue,” Tupai stated. “It is the atmosphere they grew up in.”

The Hilo High School sign in front of the school on the island of Hawaii reminds students to wear masks, wash their hands and social distance during a surge in COVID-19 cases.  September 24, 2020
Tupai coached soccer in Hilo and is now a pastor within the space. Corey Lum/Civil Beat/2020

Tupai is now a senior pastor on the Overcoming Religion Heart in Hilo, the identical church his dad and mom as soon as ran. His sister, Helen Tupai, a candidate for the state senate, additionally works within the church.

He determined to run for workplace this yr on the insistence of church-goers, who stated they didn’t agree with the course the state was headed. His causes for working aren’t a lot completely different from a lot of the state’s candidates: discovering methods to decrease the price of dwelling, constructing extra housing, and slowing migration out of the state.

Tupai stated he would give attention to points affecting Hawaii somewhat than drawing nationwide consideration.

“Should you put it on native points, I consider the divide, these gaps begin to fade,” Tupai stated.

They’re delighted that Lieutenant Governor Josh Inexperienced and Rep. Sylvia Luke, who’s on the Democratic ticket for governor and lieutenant governor, each highlighted reasonably priced housing as a problem they wish to deal with if elected.

“I consider they need to serve. They need to assist with housing, we do too,” Tupai stated. “There are specific methods we will do it in another way.”

firming it down

Tupai has narrowed down his views on lots of these nationwide points.

Tupai describes himself as pro-life and wrote in a Civil Beat Candidate Discussion board essay that he desires to attach ladies contemplating abortion to individuals who need to undertake “to avoid wasting life of their womb”.

He nonetheless does not consider abortion needs to be used as a type of contraception, however he stated the manager department shouldn’t push for any adjustments to Hawaii’s present abortion legal guidelines. Any change needs to be left to the legislature, Tupai stated, echoing Iona’s reactions to the identical challenge.

If voters need to change these legal guidelines, they need to elect state lawmakers who will achieve this.

“All we do within the government department is that we’re imposing the legal guidelines that legislators cross,” Tupai stated. “If you wish to see change, or if you would like issues to remain the identical, it’s important to put folks within the workplace who’re going to resonate with what you need to do.”

In June, he appeared on a panel organized by Seth Keschel, a distinguished election denial.

Tupa’i appeared together with different GOP candidates on a panel hosted by chief election denier Seth Keschel. screenshot

Throughout the panel, Tupai stated he wouldn’t have licensed the election outcomes and would work to convey again conventional polling locations and transfer away from Havia’s all-male voting system. Keschel supported Tupai, saying that he’s “an advocate of electoral integrity, opposing cultural Marxism, defending life and supporting particular person liberty”.

Election officers throughout the nation and a number of other courts, in addition to in Hawaii, have discovered no proof of widespread voter fraud, regardless of false claims from former President Donald Trump and his supporters that the 2020 election was stolen.

Iona has additionally stated that there isn’t any proof of election rigging.

When requested whether or not the 2020 election was honest, Tupai stated that “I noticed a variety of discrepancies. Various things that I noticed.” He didn’t give specifics about these discrepancies.

What concerning the current election?

“I believe for probably the most half, sure,” Tupai stated, including that if folks have considerations with the election course of, they need to “take the correct channel” to deal with these points.

He stated he nonetheless has considerations concerning the chain of custody for ballots, and guaranteeing that each one ballots are counted. Tupai stated he and Ayona would settle for the result of the November 8 common election, even when they have been defeated.

“We’ll stand by the rule of regulation,” he stated.



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