National Committeeman Candidate
Aloha, Fellow Democrats!
I am writing to ask for your vote for National Committeeman. I am just completing my first term and have learned a lot about how the organization works and have built relationships that have already proven helpful to the Hawaii party.
What the DNC Does
The DNC meets twice a year in a meeting of about 500-600 people, including staff and media. The Hawaii delegation usually consists of the State Chair, Vice-Chair, National Committeewoman and Committeeman, plus the Executive Director. We operate as a team. Because there are so many meetings held simultaneously, we split up, learn what we can then meet up later to brief the others. Much of the workload falls upon the Chair and ED. I attend various meetings, but have focused especially on the Rules & Bylaws Cte of the DNC. I forged friendships with several key members of the RBC, which became helpful when our party sought to win approval from the RBC for our voting process in the presidential primary. Chair Kate Stanley asked me to explain our use of RCV to the RBC. Both the lead skeptic and the biggest supporter on the RBC are real world friends of mine. We were the first state party to win approval for RCV.
Two Major DNC Votes
Although there have been a lot of votes on minor resolutions, there have really only been two major decisions we have voted on. At the February 2017 meeting in Atlanta, we met to elect a new national chair. Our delegation cast 3 votes for Keith Ellison, 1 vote for Tom Perez. Perez won on the second ballot and immediately asked for suspension of the Rules so he could name Ellison as his Deputy Chair. It was a very gracious, and unifying, move.
In August 2018, in Chicago, after two years of negotiations, hearings and amendments, the DNC voted to approve reforms from the Unity Reform Commission. The best known was to greatly reduce the role of "superdelegates" in selecting the presidential nominee. While this proposal originally came from Sanders supporters, the URC, which included people from both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns, agreed on the change. The RBC of the DNC studied the matter, then came up with a slightly stronger proposal. Tom Perez fully supported the reforms and a lot of time was spent to forge consensus among DNC members. While the issue was controversial, the final vote was probably about 2/3 in favor. (I say "probably" because they use a voice vote).
On the URC reforms, all four of Hawaii's members voted in favor. In a more recent vote, at our last meeting in SF, all four Hawaii DNC members voted for a resolution to hold a presidential debate on climate change. The reso lost. But, again, we worked, and voted, as team.
A SHORT BIO
My political views are rooted in my personal values, which were forged by my life experiences. I grew up in Kailua, Oahu, in a large family: me and 5 sisters. Except for 2 years at Punahou, I got a good public school education: at Kainalu Elementary and graduating Kailua High, Class of '71.
My first serious girlfriend, from high school into UH Manoa, was a hapa-Hawaiian girl. She and her family exposed me to a broader, deeper and very different understanding of Hawaii. We assumed we were going to get married, move up to Country (or perhaps Neighbor Island), raise mangoes, avocados and kids, living close to Nature. But “reality” intruded.
I alternated school at UH with periods off for work. For a number of years, I made tennis courts. That work took me across the island chain as we built courts for the resorts that sprang up during the 70s and 80s.
At UH Manoa, I got drawn into political activism inspired by the work of the Ethnic Studies Program. We combined book learning with field (community) work. We got out of our comfort zone as we talked with tenants, fishermen, farmers, workers and learned how to listen. We supported the struggles at Mokauea and Sand Island, at Heeia Kea, at Niumalu, fought evictions in Chinatown, as well in Waiahole and Waikane Valleys. (In the photo montage below, to the left, you will see when hundreds of us blocked the road to stop evictions at Waiahole. That's me in the second row, to the left).
When I was on Molokai to build courts out at West End (Kaluakoi Resort), I went to the airport to pick up a co-worker. I saw Emmett Aluli eating a plate lunch in his pickup truck. George Helm and Kimo Mitchell had gone missing a couple of days before so I asked about the progress of the search. He invited me to join the Protect Kahoolawe Ohana when I got back to Oahu. I did and a few months later was invited on what turned out to be the last "illegal" landing on the island, along with 13 others. The Feds brought in 200 Army Recon forces and we were arrested after a couple of days. Liko Martin, Soli Niheu, Terrilee Kekoolani, and Maxine Kahaulelio were among my fellow detainees.
In broad terms, I still believe the Ethnic Studies strategy of Building a Broad United Front of Hawaii's "multi-ethnic working class" to fight against domination by the corporations is the correct approach to take IF we want to serve the interests of working people, to help solve the problems facing working people. I may have toned down the revolutionary language, but the still reflects my view of politics.
Those who preach "Unity" when they really mean "Uniformity" are the opponents of reform.
"If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning.”
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
The photo montage below brings to mind that old bit of political wisdom attributed to some from some Texan politician. I have cleaned it up a bit:
“If you can’t shake their hand, laugh at their jokes, drink their whiskey, smoke their cigars and then vote against them anyways, you don’t belong in politics.”
NOTE: Do not assume the people in this photo montage below support my re-election. Stephen Colbert, in the photo, top row, to the left of Andrew Yang, probably does not support me. Nor does Andrew Yang, for that matter. Rather, the photos are meant to illustrate that I have learned how to "shake their hands and laugh at their jokes" and still vote against them, on occasion. I THINK I manage to disagree without being (too) disagreeable.
I ask your consideration. I think I have the right mix of institutional knowledge, relationships, political savvy, integrity and temperament to be good at the job I have already been doing. I ask that you support keeping me on the job.
Feel free to contact me if you have questions, advise or concerns.