HONOLULU — Gary Hooser is stepping down as the Vice-Chair of the Hawai’i Democratic Party, effective immediately. He is doing so primarily to have the freedom to endorse the candidacy of Kim Coco Iwamoto, for House District 26, currently represented by Speaker Scott Saiki.
“We are in crisis. And it isn’t just the health of people in the face of the COVID19 pandemic. Our democracy has also become infected with power struggles, infighting, and a sense of entitlement. Our complacent state leadership no longer puts the public interest first—even in the face of unprecedented unemployment and suffering that is visible to everyone —except our lawmakers,” said Hooser.
“Our elected representatives are supposed to serve. Instead, we see even the ones who genuinely want to serve cowed by the power wielded by people at the top. This is not healthy. It does nobody any good, and it is hurting Hawai’i,” he added.
In stepping down as Vice-Chair, Hooser also gives up a seat on the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and an opportunity to be a Super Delegate at the upcoming Democratic Party National Convention.
“I don’t do this lightly,” he said. “But tough times call for tough decisions, and people who are ready to make those tough decisions. I believe Kim Coco Iwamoto is just such a leader. In my career, I have not seen anyone with her unique blend of talent, integrity, and courage. She is the kind of brave, forward-thinking leader we need in government to help steer us in the right direction. We cannot let incumbent lawmakers who have taken their constituents for granted to just keep doing what they have been doing and expect things to improve,” said Hooser.
Kim Coco Iwamoto is an attorney and a businesswoman who has served the community on the Civil Rights Commission, on the Board of Education, and on the boards of several community organizations. She has been a strong advocate for children, she walks the talk for affordable housing and has been fighting hard in support of a living wage for all Hawaii workers.
Hooser’s career includes serving eight years as a State Senator, four of them as Majority Leader. He also served eight years on the Kaua‘i County Council. For the last six years, he has focused on issue advocacy and on increasing civic engagement. He is the co-founder of the Hawai’i Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA), the Pono Hawai’i Initiative (PHI) and the Kuleana Academy. The endorsement of Kim Coco Iwamoto is done in Hooser’s personal capacity, and not on behalf of any organization.
“My generation has a lot to answer for. The record of our performance is written on the streets of Honolulu, where thousands are houseless. The planet is in disarray, residents are fearful for the future, and divisiveness in our community grows daily. We must join with the leaders of tomorrow to do better and build the future our children deserve. Kim Coco Iwamoto believes, as I do, that Hawai’i’s workers deserve a living wage, and our natural environment must be protected. Most importantly at this time, she understands that we must emerge from the COVID-19 experience with a healthy community, and a strong diversified economy where every resident benefits.”