What should the requirements be for someone who wants to run for office as a Democrat? All across the country, State parties have different requirements.
Our Hawai`i State Party Constitution, Article I, Section 2E, says in a nutshell that you must have been a member of good standing in the Party for at least six months prior to the deadline before filing papers as a candidate with the State or County.
In the recent instance, Laura Thielen, a member since February 21, 2012, who wants to run on O’ahu for the State Senate as a Democrat, missed the 6 month deadline required of candidates for office. As per our Constitution, she requested a waiver from the Executive Committee of the O`ahu County Committee and was turned down. She appealed to the State Central Committee of over 70 members statewide, which upheld the O`ahu County Committee’s decision.
I won’t try to go through the pro’s and con’s here. I will say that there are good people and reasonable arguments on all sides of this “issue.” Increasingly the conversation is focusing on why we have these provisions in our Constitution and how they might be improved. So, let’s check it out…
The time for this discussion is fortuitous (perfect)! Our Biennial Democratic Party State Convention will run from May 25th thru 27th, preceded by County Conventions across the State. In fact, Kaua`i County has its convention this Saturday, April 7th. This is, indeed, the perfect time to propose and make changes for future elections if the majority of you feel we should. This is a democracy and we strongly encourage participation in its exercise.
It is clear that there are Party members on both sides of this issue based on calls to the headquarters, blogs and Facebook postings. We invite all who are delegates to County Conventions and/or State Conventions (and all other Democrats who wish to let their voices be heard) to review the current language in the Party’s Constitution, then make recommendations for changes by amending or deleting these provisions.
If there is one thing I have learned in life, it is that there is more than one way to get something done. This is your Party and your Constitution. We will continue to encourage an open and participatory democracy! So, welina, join in please.
E nauwe pololei kakou (let’s move ahead in the right direction)
Dante K. Carpenter
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