Hawaii is in dire need of a new energy in politics. Local Democrats have run out of good ideas and the brave delegation of Republicans is too small to challenge them effectively. But the real problem is that our voice among the people goes unheard. Their perception of us runs the spectrum from loyal but misguided to downright irrelevant.
I recognize that the Hawaii Republican Party presently does not actively engage in issues advocacy at the county, state, and federal levels and that needs to change. I will promote and encourage a very proactive culture in our party activities in order to affect change in Hawaii. This will take a robust, full-time personal effort to which I am committed.
I do not have a private agenda nor do I hold any positions outside the party, which could conflict with representing Republicans across the state as party chair. I am not seeking fame or fortune or election to any public office and I am dedicated to serve this party so that Republicans can take their rightful place in Hawaii. Like so many of my friends, families and neighbors, I am eager to see a vibrant two-party system in Hawaii!
I intend to lead the party on a few basic tenets that we can all work toward as a team of diverse, dedicated and focused professionals. The theme of my plan can be summarized in five simple words: “Foundation, Organization, Education, Motivation, and Acceleration.”
To me, the most critical aspect of building a solid foundation is to get the party on a firm financial footing. We are supposed to be a sharp contrast to the Democrats, offering viable, workable alternatives that energize the state’s residents to want our solutions and not continue with what we already know doesn’t work.
Our financial underpinning helps us speak our message broadly, and I know we are at a critical financial crossroads today. In fact, I believe that this is one of the main reasons why the Hawaii Republican Party has been in decline for the last few years and it will be a primary area of focus for me as chairman.
I've have already begun fielding requests from many business leaders and donors who want to raise critical funds help our party evolve, yet we will always be a party that thrives on the generosity of the rank and file. We have to instill discipline, restraint, and integrity into our processes in order to give our donors the confidence that their gifts will be well utilized.
I want to see our party limit its’ outflows and use the most modern means to spread its message. My limited observation as a party member gives me great concern about how some of our current leaders are handling our finances. Therefore, one of the most critical aspects of my tenure as party chair will be that I will insist on total transparency of the executive committee with the state committee members.
The status of the present HRP headquarters has become highly politicized and threatens to divide our small party. Yet, we need to see it from a most pragmatic perspective in the larger context of our entire financial activity. My first order of business as Chair will be to order an independent analysis, with a very short-term completion date, that will take into account the entire business environment to include all the legal, financial, operational, and legitimate real estate issues.
I will also ensure that all stakeholders are engaged in thorough and transparent discussions. I feel that the analysis will help to take the emotion out of the decision and give us a better understanding of the matter. When the decision has to be made, I will ensure that we gather facts from those who have information about the acquisition and use of the building, experience in other states, the RNC’s thoughts, if any, and alternatives here in Honolulu. As co-owners, the Oahu League of Republican Women will be involved in the process to ensure we collaborate and reach a joint decision on the issue, continuing to bring unity to the party.
As we build our finances, we will also begin to define our contrast to the Democrats in clear and simple terms. Through my interactions with grassroots leaders, I have found an overwhelming frustration with the HRP platform, which many feel, doesn’t clearly articulate conservative values. There is also the perception that the process of creating the platform endured undue influence by certain leaders. That is not acceptable. I will encourage discussions, engagements and find the wording that will satisfy all stakeholders of the party. I will trust and hope that all members of the Platform Committee, especially in the grassroots level, will deliberate and will come to a result that is agreeable to all. It is my opinion that we, as a party, can do a better job of providing a clear distinction between the Republicans and our opponents, and our platform is the beginning of how we draw that line.
The Hawaii Republican Party is not just the party of no, nor are we simply the party of tax cuts. We’re the party of aloha and ohana. We are the party that wants to see every resident thrive so they can build their business, family and community without excessive government interference. We need every member of the party to know and believe that.
Our solutions range from cutting taxes to making the engine of government more effective and efficient by reducing fraud, waste and abuse. And when any member of our party fields a question, whether in casual conversation or on a broadcast interview, the message is clear: the people must have the freedom and support to offer their best solutions to their neighbor without the heavy hand of government overshadowing their efforts.
My choices in staff will reflect that basic philosophy. I want a wide breadth of voices so all points of view are clearly articulated before we decide the future direction of our party. There is no such thing as a monolithic party, and one of the perceptions among the people of Hawaii is that the Republicans are just that, one-dimensional. I want to ensure we have strong voices representing many conservative perspectives – whether they are more fiscally responsible, socially engaged or actively aiming to limit government.
I’ve already partnered with, a local businessman, who has agreed to head up an active finance committee. As I’ve stated, raising funds is among my top priorities. To partner with that, I am seeking help with a veteran party professional and certified CPA to serve as party Treasurer.
I’m also in the process of assessing skillsets of various leaders from throughout the different communities of our party and will select a diverse team of people who are committed to the success of the HRP and to help our candidates win elections.
The key here is to surround myself with a diversity of voices that blend together to capture the widest perspective possible. I am not looking for simply compliant agents who think exactly like I do. My intent when it comes to the staff specifically chosen to work alongside me is to broaden the group and to lead in ways that inspire, rather than require, trust and confidence. I believe this will directly impact party unity.
Furthermore, I will insist grassroots members elected to the platform and rules committees especially should feel free to voice their opinions and exert their influence. If we are well-organized and clear about what we stand for, outreach becomes so much more effective.
Education and outreach in the community is key to our success as a party. Not only will we increase transparency and accountability within party leadership, but sharing our points of view will attract more members from the growing ranks of disillusioned or disengaged Independents and Democrats looking for a conservative home. We need those numbers in our party and their votes in the next election. Votes that will come from cultures and people the Democrats have taken for granted.
Education in the community will attract people whose family values and cultural background align more naturally with the Republican Party, if they heard us talk with them regularly as we share our message. With a diverse staff that starts with a broad range of ideas, we will articulate a message that covers the values and issues most people in our state care about and that the opposition isn’t even paying attention to.
Due to dire shortfalls in financial resources, the Hawaii Republican Party dedicates an insignificant amount of time, money, or effort to educating and persuading the public in order to make it easier for GOP candidates to win their races. We have to turn this around!
As Chairman, I will make a serious and concerted effort to create an organization that will cultivate the environment in different communities to influence the outcomes for various actions, including elections of local candidates.
The HRP priorities should include providing a way for all Hawaii residents to create their own American dream. Our HRP volunteers will work to engage, educate, and empower fellow conservatives to be candidates, leaders and activists at all levels. The HRP should provide the training and resources to empower Republicans all over the islands to make a difference in their community, state and country.
If there is one thing I’ve learned in my career is that leadership style affects motivation in an organization. The efficiency of advancing technology and the ever-changing political environment is forcing change in a traditional top-down organization. It is up to the leaders in our party to decide which side of change they want to be on, the leading edge or trailing edge. The leading edge is exciting and offers hope and great potential while the trailing edge is a drag, forcing change upon us and making us react constantly. For too long, we’ve been playing catch-up, draining our motivation while missing chances to be leaders of change that inspire others. I wish to bring us to the leading edge of change in the HRP.
Motivating and empowering leaders at all levels will be another top priority for me. I strongly believe all leaders, including the party chair, executive committee members, and state committee members should raise expectations in their performance and I will commit to work closely with them to gather insights of their progress on their various activities and provide them the resources they need to succeed.
Transparency at all levels of leadership throughout the organization should help hold us accountable to a high standard of performance and move our party forward. Furthermore, no leader in our party should be above the rules. Blatant rule breaking is absolutely unacceptable! Such activity severely weakens our party in the public eye, sowing mistrust in our own members and disrespect in our opponents. We will continue to emphasize integrity in all aspects of party operations.
I have no personal or private agenda prevents me from promising total transparency to all members and will require the same discipline from all executive committee members. Finally, in order to encourage a more viable and active party, I would like to see more decision-making authority pushed to the state committee and throughout the counties.
It’s been said by several Republican leaders here in Hawaii that the local party is at a crossroads. I keep reading articles by local journalists that characterize the Hawaii Republican Party as being out of touch. They consistently state that the party is becoming irrelevant in state politics. They also warn that our lack of diversity is dangerous. I couldn’t agree more.
We have real problems to solve. Regardless of who or what caused them, the HRP needs to offer a viable vision of what it perceives as a different path than their Democratic rivals. It’s time to step on the gas and accelerate. This is the year.
I intend to work with our leaders to craft our party as a logical and viable alternative to the Democrats. I want to force our government to be effective, offering the people of our state a government that meets their needs and stays out of their way. I want to see our party organized to receive an influx of new voters, new members and new donors.
To do that, we’re going to update our processes to ensure we’re more connected and more unified. I want to see the precincts, districts and counties galvanized to recruit, train and support members who are brave and energized enough to run for office and who have a party that will help them win. Our party’s message needs to be so simple and so easy to understand that voters will want to ask us why the government isn’t already doing the things we talk about. And to do that, we’re going to update our brand and message.
We are going to have to revitalize the efforts of our standing committees, which are virtually non-existent and commit to meeting year-round on a battle rhythm that ensures we are responsive to changes in the political scene.
Our executive and state committees similarly have to meet more frequently to ensure a synchronized effort at all levels of our party. With the help of party leaders, I plan to orchestrate a calendar and an active rhythm of meetings and engagement that will be published and visible for all members to see, giving them confidence that the leaders they voted for are doing the tough work they are tasked to do!
In order for this increased accountability to mean something on the ground, we have to give our leaders real tools with which to perform their jobs. This has been lacking in the past and we have to make this a priority. We have already reached out to the RNC Co-Chair, Bob Paduchik, who has committed to coming out personally and bring resources to train our grassroots leaders all over the state. These kinds of commitments and activities will positively impact our local activities.
I want to see the party hire a full-time communications director, someone who can help us shape a strategic message and plant it all over the state so our people in every precinct and district have a ready-made stage they can use to articulate Republican solutions at their very grassroots level. I want to see us solving problems every day, using the precepts from our state platform, so the people can see how bright, consistent and forward-looking our vision for the state is.
I know we have a tough road ahead, and we have much work to do. But that’s why I’m excited! We can show pride in our Republican roots, reaching back to Lincoln, while we show the people of Hawaii why we are today’s best answer to empower them and lead our state. We can build on the revolution that swept our nation and led to Republican victories in traditionally Blue strongholds. And we will show our people how the Republican Party of Hawaii will not only empower them to build amazing futures but bring our state to the forefront of leadership.