Democratic Party takes grassroots approach to engage, activate

The Democratic Party of Hawaii has launched its nationwide “Summer of Resistance and Renewal” program to engage and motivate party members and activists from the grassroots.

“The goal of the program will be to reconnect Hawaii Democrats with one another and with voters, rebuild a sense of political unity, and afford our residents an opportunity to identify mutual areas of concern and address their issues through the vehicle of party activism,” said Tim Vandeveer, state party chairman.

He said they hope to recruit new members, train leaders, and increase voter turnout in Hawaii by 10 percent in the 2018 elections.

Through a fellowship with the National Democratic Committee, five local organizers were selected to bring unique perspectives, diverse political backgrounds and community activism to the program.

Organizers recruit and train volunteers to hit the streets, protest Republican agendas, talk to neighbors about health care and economic issues and register voters.

Ian Ross of Honolulu is summer program organizer for Kauai and Oahu. The legislative aide spreads political enthusiasm by frequenting his hometown of Koloa to keep the community engaged in political activism. “Ian’s role is to listen, to hear from our community what their issues are, to make connections and have those conversations on doorsteps, living rooms, cafeterias, libraries,” said Vandeveer.

Though much of the program has focused on resistance to current administration policies, discussing and proposing solutions are at the forefront of the movement.

“We need to renew our historical role as the party of ideas and solutions that benefit working people,” he said.


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