First and foremost, I’d like to welcome Kaua‘i County Council members Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, Mel Rapozo, Jay Furfaro and Jimmy Tokioka to the Democratic Party. They join council members JoAnn Yukimura, Kaipo Asing and Daryl Kaneshiro to make a solid majority working for the betterment of our island home.
There has been some concerns expressed regarding recent events in our party that I feel need addressing in a public forum.
First is the announcement by Congressman Ed Case to run against Sen. Daniel Akaka. While many were surprised by the move, contested primary elections in our party are the norm, not the exception. One only has to look back over previous elections to see a wide range of people running in a wide range of political races. The big difference in this particular race, so far, is that both Sen. Akaka and Congressman Case have very high profiles. I fully trust that our party members across Hawai’i will collectively choose the correct candidate to represent all of us in the U.S. Senate.
The second concern surrounds councilman Jimmy Tokioka’s decision to join the Democratic Party. In spite of what the other side says, the Democratic Party is truly, and always has been, the party of “The Big Tent,” and I will certainly do my best to make sure it so remains. We are the party of diversity and inclusion. We continue to welcome people in all walks of life and we encourage discussion of the issues at our county and state conventions.
Within a few months those conventions will be completed. From them, a batch of resolutions pertaining to a wide range of issues relevant to our party members will move forward. In order to earn Democratic Party endorsements, Democratic Party candidates will be required to make a statement on each of the resolutions passed by the conventions. For the first time, those statements will be available for party members to review on each of the islands. I urge all of those who wish to affect all levels of government to get involved, starting with the precinct caucuses being held at various locations islandwide March 7. From the caucuses, delegates to the county and state conventions are elected, and those delegates will have input as to the final scope of any resolutions that are passed.
The time to start thinking about the future of our county, state and federal government is now. The Democrats, through the election process, will put together a team with their eyes on our collective future.
Our new councilmembers have all expressed a desire to rejoin the party of their roots, the party of their family, and the party of their hearts. We welcome them back with open arms and aloha.
Martin Rice is the chair of the Democratic Party of Kaua’i.