District 13 Democratic delegates Lynn DeCoite, Danny Mateo, Beverly Pauole-Moore and Lawrence Joao
An insider’s look at the Hawaii Democratic Convention.
An editorial by Brandon Roberts
As we stepped into the Hilton Convention Center, a wave of Democratic excitementwashed over us. We felt official, important – knowing that our weekend was one of change. We were to shape the blue team, mold the future of the party platform, and vote our conscience.
I had the honor, by default mind you, of attending the Hawaii Democratic Convention as a Molokai Delegate over Memorial weekend. Aunty Beverly Pauole-Moore and Aunty Annette Pauole-Ahakuelo made me their hanai for the weekend. We were there for Molokai, we were there for Barack Obama.
We were not the only ones there to support Obama. By the convention’s close the presidential hopeful would collect three more superdelegate votes and carry 21 of Hawaii’s 29 pledged delegates to the national convention.
“Maui County will have great representation at the Democratic National Convention,” Pauole-Moore said with a beaming smile.
District 13, which consists of Molokai, Lanai, and East Maui, had some of the highest Obama support in the nation with 85 percent. The unprecedented turn out broke records, leading many to believe the democratic philosophy is best for the Hawaiian Islands.
Senator Kalani English had nothing but pride for the Friendly Isle delegates, “they always represent, and Molokai never ceases to amaze me.”
And Molokai definitely represented – bringing 10 spirited delegates, the only island with 100 percent delegate representation, as well as one of the youngest delegates in attendance, 19-year-old Caroline Kahue.
The lack of `opio surprised me though. Obama has a connection with the country’s youth, registering 30,000 new voters in Hawaii alone. I do not mean any disrespect; however, the youth need to get involved, and the party leadership needs to reach out and nominate more `opio. They need to prepare us because it will soon be our turn to lead.
Nearly 1,000 Hawaii Democratic delegates took a step in this direction by electing 35-year-old Brian Shatz as the new party chair. Pauole-Ahakuelo said the election of Shatz was one of her convention highlights. Reflecting on her experience, she said she has not seen enthusiasm like this for a long time. “Everyone was just so hyped, pumped up, and we all came together to get a Democrat in the office.”
Molokai Veteran and delegate Larry Helm, has always been an independent, but believed in Obama’s message and potential early on. He has dropped the “I” and adorned a “D,” this election year. “The recipe the country is following is wrong, we need to consider a way that is equal, we need change.”
One of the most exuberant Molokai delegates was Lawrence Joao. He has attended four other democratic conventions and could not hide his Obama support. Jaoa, along with the Molokai Democrats, participated in an Obama parade, holding his sign high and chanting “Yes we can!”
Pauole-Moore is the president of the Kaunakakai Democrats, and organized the Molokai delegates. She shared the privilege with Councilman Danny Mateo of presenting convention attendees with a memorial on the life of dedicated Democratic Party member, Wilma Grambusch, who passed away in April.
“She was my mentor, and welcomed me into the Democratic Party,” Pauole-Moore said. “On Molokai, Grambusch and party politics are synonymous. She was a mover and shaker.”
“Grambusch was the Democratic Party of Hawaii,” Mateo said. “It is such an honor to have the state acknowledging one of our own.”
Mateo believes the Democrats are rebuilding, but he said “the interest is there, and this convention will catapult us into the future.”
Molokai’s 2008 Democratic delegate team was Pauole-Moore, Pauole-Ahakuelo, Joao, Helm, Lynn DeCoite, Rosie Davis, Walter Ritte, Kulia Peters, Kahue, and I.
The next step is the August Democratic national convention in Denver, and Molokai – look forward to more Democratic events here on Molokai as the campaign season continues to heat up.