State briefs for November 7

Gabbard says she won’t mount 3rd-party 2020 presidential bid

WASHINGTON — Longshot presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii says she will not launch a third-party bid for the White House if she fails to secure the Democratic nomination.

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For weeks questions have swirled around whether the congresswoman could play spoiler in 2020. That’s what many Democrats accuse Jill Stein of doing in 2016, when her Green Party candidacy cut into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s margins in key battleground states in the contest against Republican Donald Trump.

Gabbard said Wednesday on ABC’s “The View” that she’s “running to build a new Democratic Party.” She added that she said “no every time” she’s been asked if she would launch a third-party bid.

Democratic Party Chairman Tom Perez says Gabbard “enthusiastically” pledged last week that she wouldn’t continue if she lost.

Air Force space squadron to operate out of Hawaii facility

LIHUE, Kauai — The U.S. Air Force approved a naval facility and airport as the preferred alternative site for a technical squadron tasked with monitoring satellites in support of the national security space mission.

The Space Control Squadron would operate out of the Barking Sands Pacific Missile Range Facility in western Kauai.

This decision reaffirms the importance of Hawaii’s strategic role in national security, said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, a Hawaii Democrat.

The unit is also expected to bring more federal funds and jobs to the state, Schatz said. The squadron would support 88 new Hawaii Air National Guard positions, including 29 full-time positions and 59 part-time positions.

The basing process is expected to be completed by 2020, with the unit becoming partially operational by 2021 and fully operational by 2022, according to federal officials.

Visitor industry event focuses on sex trafficking

HONOLULU — Hawaii’s tourism industry hosted a conference warning hotel owners and employees of the prevalence of sex trafficking at visitor properties and providing information about how to fight it.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority funded the inaugural Campaign for a Safer Community symposium in partnership with the Hawaii Tourism and Lodging Association and anti-sex trafficking group Ho’ola na Pua. The Honolulu event Monday was the first of four, with conferences also scheduled this week on Maui, the Big Island and Kauai.

The tourism authority provided $50,000 for the training sessions.

Industry members heard from the tourism authority, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and others with information about curbing the use of hotels in the $100 billion illegal industry.

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Only 8% of hoteliers can identify instances of sex or human trafficking before training, while 44% of employees recognized cases afterward, according to advocacy group Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking.

Sex trafficking affects all hotel types, and partnerships within the industry are crucial, experts and property operators said.

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