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Independent Voting

Kanohowailuku Helm.

Community Contributed

By Kanohowailuku Helm, District 7 Senate candidate 

My campaign for State Senate District 7 is kicking off with two new films this week. They are available on Facebook and YouTube by searching Helm for Senate. The first is images of my life. These will be familiar to Molokai people, but should be helpful to voters in other parts of the district.

While film is no substitute for talking story face to face, the unique challenge of District 7 is to reach voters scattered across three islands and also protect Kaho`olawe. Over the next two months, I will be introducing myself to voters on Lanai, in Hana and upper and lower country Maui. I believe that anyone representing this district must make themselves known and available on all three islands.

My second film explains why I’m running as an Independent. Hawaii is almost a one-party state. The easy choice for a candidate is to file as a Democrat and ask that party for money and endorsements. I’ve chosen a different path, because I watched Democratic Party leaders sacrifice Molokai and Lanai to party interests and corporate convenience.

If it is a challenge to run as an independent, it is also a challenge to vote as an independent. The way our primaries are set up, you have to select a nonpartisan ballot to vote for a candidate like me. But if you do that, you won’t be able to vote for Democrat or Republican candidates for other state and federal offices (you can vote for county offices, because those are nonpartisan.) In the primary on Aug. 11, I am forced to ask you to give up other choices in order to support me. The reason is simple: I can only challenge the major party candidate if I make it to the general election in November.

There is one other way you can help me — by voting a Democrat or Republican ballot, but leave the line for State Senator District 7 blank. Don’t vote for anyone for that office. The lower the total votes for Senate, the easier for me to reach the general election. I am required by law to get the minimum 10 percent of the cumulative votes cast.

I’m not against parties. But I believe a party should be an organization of voters, not an organization of politicians against the voters. I’m asking you to make a sacrifice and vote nonpartisan (independent) because I think Democrats need some competition. If I am fortunate enough to be elected, I will start working immediately to open up our primaries, so voters can choose whoever they want. In a democracy, we, the people, are supposed to be the boss.

Across our state, citizens are asking questions and standing up, as I am, to challenge “business as usual.” If we all work together, I believe we can change our politics to better serve the needs of our people.

In future films I will address other important issues. To offer support, suggestions or criticism, you can post comments on YouTube, or on Facebook at Helm for Senate. You can also reach me at 808-336-1061. Best of all, come visit us on Molokai to talk story. I will soon be scheduling events and appearances on Maui and Lanai, to be announced.