From grassroots organizing to state senator and majority leader, Gary Hooser has been advocating for Hawaii’s environment and people for years.
And in early November, the former Kauai county councilmember and founder of Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action was honored as an “Unsung Hero” by Hawaii’s Thousand Friends on Oahu.
“I hope everyone understands that my heart is always with doing what is right, first and foremost for the people who need someone to advocate for them,” Hooser said.
He continued: “When money so dominates our politics, the only antidote is people-power. And I have been thrilled to be in the midst of the growing people-power movement on these islands.”
Among other things, Hooser was honored for his role in starting the nonprofit educational and advocacy organizations HAPA and Pono Hawaii Initiative.
“(I am) both motivated and extremely humbled by the recognition and thank the many people on every island who are increasingly stepping up, getting involved and taking ownership of their local government,” Hooser said.
From Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard added words of congratulations to Hooser.
“Throughout his career, Gary Hooser has been fearless in standing up against environmental threats to our community in the face of powerful interests.
“He has sacrificed personal and financial gain to serve the public interest and has succeeded in mobilizing many people in Hawaii to become involved in public-policy decisions that affect all of our lives,” Gabbard said.
Hawaii’s Thousand Friends is an organization dedicated to ensuring that growth is reasonable and responsible in the state.
Past Unsung Hero recipients include Earthjustice Hawaii Director Paul Achitoff, and Kauai residents Barbara Robeson and water rights attorney and advocate Kapua Sproat.
The 2018 annual Unsung Heroes event was held at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki on Nov. 11, and attended by several hundred.
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.