We live in perilous times. This most hideous of weeks in a hideous presidency should motivate us all, not just to vote, but to help others do so as well. Lives literally depend on our reclaiming our democracy. We cannot take comfort that things are different in Hawaii. There is much that is broken and needs to be repaired. Gary Hooser’s action in stepping down as vice-chair of the state Democratic party to go all in for Kim Coco Iwamoto who is looking to replace the man who has represented District 26 for 26 years is a landmark moment in local politics. It is a much needed act of courage and solidarity. I am pleased to reblog his announcement, with his permission this evening, having just listened to District 26 Candidate Kim Coco Iwamoto talk to enthusiastic supporters on ZOOM.
It’s time to pivot hard to local elections (Hooser Blog).
I have to say I was taken aback –in the best possible way–when I saw how Kim Coco reacted on social media to my recent public announcement (Honolulu Star-Advertiser) that I was stepping down as the Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii in order to endorse and support her bid for election to the State House of Representatives, District 26, McCully, Kaheka, Kakaako and Downtown (see district map).
But the horrific events of this past week relating to George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a police officer, and the primal scream that resulted from it in cities across the nation reinforced the point of her reaction: that now more than ever all of us, and especially white men and women, are morally obliged to speak out and stand with those who are oppressed.
The bottom line is that I believe strongly in my heart, that the single most important thing I can do with my time and my life at the moment, is to help elect Kim Coco Iwamoto to the State House of Representatives. Kim Coco has the intelligence, the drive, and most importantly the integrity and core values desperately needed now more than ever in our state legislature.
It is no secret that many in our community have been extremely disappointed in the lack of support for economic justice and environmental protection issues, under the leadership of Speaker of the House, Representative Scott Saiki, who is Kim’s opponent in this race. The House has repeatedly killed or derailed legislation to increase Hawaii’s minimum wage, and last year pushed hard to effectively transfer public trust water rights, to a private for-profit entity.
In the past two months as our community drowns in the economic fallout from the unavoidable stay at home orders, leadership in the House under Speaker Saiki has been ineffective at best. With 250,000 residents unemployed and thousands standing in food lines, the legislature has decided to remain in recess. They have not resolved the debacle at the unemployment office, nor have they offered additional funds to those residents and local businesses who are suffering due to government mismanagement.
I am sure Speaker Saiki believes he is doing his best. But we are in crisis and his best is simply not good enough. We need new, community-based, bold leadership. And we need it now.
Be sure to vote–and tell everyone you know in District 26–to vote for Kim Coco Iwamoto in the Primary (August 8). Help people check their voter registration status at https://olvr.hawaii.gov/
It is entirely Vote By Mail this year. No more polling stations. Just a handful of voter service centers. So be sure you are properly registered to receive your ballot. Your ballot must be received by the Office of Elections by August 8 not mailed on August 8th.
Even a cursory look at Kim Coco Iwamoto’s resume and track record shows clearly that she is a force to be reckoned with. She is a successful businesswoman with a long track record in public service. She is a former elected member of the Hawaii Board of Education, a licensed attorney, a former member of the Civil Rights Commission, and has extensive experience in both the public and the private sector.
During my past 18 years of serving in elective office both as a Hawaii State Senator, as a member of the Kauai County Council, and as the Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control, I have come into contact with political figures of all shapes and sizes. Some have been incredibly talented and akamai, and others have been positively clueless and essentially useless.
I have not seen anyone, however, with the unique combination of talent, integrity, and sheer guts that Kim Coco Iwamoto brings to the table.
There are over a dozen candidates running for election to the State House of Representatives who support the core principle of putting people and the environment over corporate interests, and who have the strength of character to rise above the culture of fear and self-interest that now permeates the House. Each of these candidates deserves our collective support and I will be highlighting these other races and candidates in the coming days.
But to be absolutely clear: “I’m all in for Kim.”
I ask you to join me.
If you live in the District (see below map), an offer to help and a contribution from you is especially important and will send a strong signal of support. Whether it is $5 or $100 or more contributions made online today and prior to Friday, June 5th are especially helpful.
This is no casual commitment for me. In addition to giving up my position as Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii (DPH), I am also giving up a seat on the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and an opportunity to be a Super Delegate at the upcoming Democratic Party National Convention.
But this fight at this time is worth everything I am giving up.
I thank from the bottom of my heart the interim Chair of the Party, Kate Stanley. Kate, together with DPH Executive Director Erynn Fernandez and an incredibly dedicated team of volunteers, have done a phenomenal job in managing the Party during these very stressful times.
It has been an honor to be able to serve as the Party Vice-Chair these past two years. But my mission now is to support the election of Democrats like Kim Coco Iwamoto who will fight hard with integrity and commitment, to actually pass into law the policy priorities that support the core values of our Party.
If you have received this forwarded from another person, please consider joining with me and subscribing directly by signing up here: http://garyhooser.com/#four If you are wondering who is this guy Gary Hooser, please visit my website http://www.garyhooser.com and watch this short video where I talk a bit about my background and about the history of my community’s fight with the four largest chemical companies in the world. Watch “I wrote my speech on a paper plate.”
Otherwise, if you want to get involved in running for elective office and/or support other good people who are running, please email me and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction!
All the best,