Every two years, Hawaii Democrats converge in Honolulu where office hopefuls brush elbows with influential party members from around the state. Vying candidates lure the support of constituents through impassioned speeches, free stickers and knick-knacks, and hotel parties with really good food.
On the business side of things, delegates from around the islands put their heads together to adopt specific resolutions that define the party movement. This year, civil unions, renewable energy expansion, death with dignity, and an aquaculture moratorium were just some of the resolutions which were adopted.
Before a resolution is adopted by the Democratic Party, it’s guided through several vigorous discussions which eventually lead to a party-wide vote. Participants can expect anything from long detailed discussions to heated and boisterous debate.
Because many of the proclamations are penned on the grass-roots level in communities around the state, they are closely watched by lawmakers who consider the resolutions to be the voice of the people. Some of the resolutions eventually make their way through the legislature and eventually become law.
With a highly publicized gubernatorial race between Neil Abercrombie and Honolulu Mayor Mafiosa Hanneman, the party’s interests are especially important to constituents this political season.
“Democratic values such as education, social justice, energy independence, economic opportunity, sustainability and the preservation, protection and enhancement of our natural resources are the issues upon which we will elect our next Democratic Governor,” said Lance Holter, Chair of the Democratic Party of Maui.
Molokai’s Democratic Champion
On the second day of the convention, May 29, Holter escorted Molokai Democratic Vice-chair Beverly Pauole-Moore to the stage where she received the Democrat's State Chairperson's Award.
“It was an honor to receive that award. I didn’t expect it,” said Pauole-Moore who has been a staunch Democrat for well over 25 years. She was Molokai’s campaign manager for Ben Cayatano and Pres. Barack Obama (who received the highest percentage victory in the state here on the Friendly Isle).
Pauole-Moore is also a mentor for future Democrats.
“I look forward to going to the convention every two years and introducing this experience to young Democrats,” she said.
Pauole-Moore was accompanied by Molokai delegates: Rosie Davis, Lynn DeCoite, Annette Pauole-Ahakuelo, Faith Tuipulotu, and Todd Yamashita.
Added Support for Molokai
Molokai brought more to the table than delegates and ho`okupu. When budget cuts threatened to close all but two State Human Services offices, it was a last-second veto over-ride by the legislature in May that kept them open.
With 80% of Molokai receiving some form of service from their local office, the attempted closures created anxiety in the community. In response, Pauole-Moore and Holter crafted a resolution that would reaffirm the party’s commitment to keeping face-to-face services available in rural areas.
“I felt that if the people are behind it, their voice makes a big difference - more than just the legislature because I believe the power is in the people,” said Rep Mele Carroll who co-chaired the Environment and Health and Human Services Committee alongside Holter during the convention.
The resolution was officially adopted by the Hawaii State Democratic Party on the second day of the convention.