Running For The Job Of A Lifetime

Larry Price
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Wednesday - September 07, 2011
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Hawaii is in the midst of a political upheaval so many politicians coming and going with some going in different directions, former governors standing on the sideline eyeing the competition while others look for causes to take up their spare time and keep their name recognition alive.

In all the action, some good and some bad, the hot ticket seems to be running for the U.S. House of Representatives. There are so many candidates, it has to be an easy job.

Ever since U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka announced his plans to retire, just about every ambitious politician has thrown their coconut hat or maile lei into the ring.

For the Democrats, this is an easy decision because if they don’t get elected they will be awarded a high-paying job in state government.

Don’t believe that, eh?

Ask yourself this question: Where’s the herd of people who ran and lost the race for lieutenant governor last time around? All are doing well and many of them trying for higher office again.

This makes some sense, since the campaign laws in Hawaii are written so that defeated candidates can keep their campaign funds as long as they keep running for elected office. If not, they are supposed to give it back to contributors or to charity.

It’s not difficult bookkeeping to keep up the appearance that you are running for another office. A couple thousand dollars in an interest-bearing account is nice to have lying around. Take a business trip, some timely donations and well-placed marketing efforts and they can be the funds that keep on giving.

If well-heeled donors have money to bet on a candidate’s success at the polls and the candidate is elected, the donors have gambled their money well. If candidates aren’t elected, then donors are best served hiring them.

For the candidates who win on luck, connection or an intelligent campaign strategy, the prize is spectacular.

The requirements for the job of senator are simple. One has to be 25 years old and an American citizen. Pay is great: $174,000 a year with all kinds of benefits including free travel between Washington, D.C., and their home state on business trips.

They can retire at 50 with 20 years’ service. They also receive business allowances for staff as well as free office rent, telephone and franking privileges, to name just a few perks, not to mention a gold-plated medical insurance plan.

Makes you feel like running, doesn’t it?

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