(Email sent to Republican Party membership by Hawaii GOP Chair Jonah Kaauwai this morning.)
A Call for Lokahi (Unity)
It is with a heart full of mixed emotions, yet with much hope for the future, that I write this letter to you. Today, I submitted my resignation as Chairman of the Hawaii Republican Party.
As of late, you may have heard of the Executive Committee’s vote of “no confidence” of my Chairmanship; the viability of the Hawaii Republican Party has been questioned. An internal email correspondence from the Executive Committee to the State Committee members that called for a meeting on October 15, 2011, to vote on my removal as State Chair, was leaked to the press. Here are some corresponding news stories:
As Chairman, the most difficult job is the balancing-act between the factions in the party. After the 2011 Convention, and being reelected without contention, my hope was to unify the grassroots conservatives and moderates within our party to have a powerful Republican movement going into the 2012 Election Cycle. The recent success of the Lee Greenwood building campaign event, which raised nearly $97,000, proves that if we all work together, we could have both finances and grassroots.
With declared candidates John Carroll for US Senate, Charles Djou for Congressional District 1 and with nearly 50 candidates running for legislative races, the current stalemate between the conservatives supporting my chairmanship and the moderates driving my resignation must end for the benefit of our Party and I believe my stepping down as chair is the required leadership move.
My hope lies with the L.L.I.F.E. (Liberty, Limited Government, Individual Responsibility, Fiscal Accountability and Equality of Opportunity) Platform; it is imperative for our Party to join forces as a single powerful entity that is founded on unyielding constitutional American principles and put aside “candidate-centric” and “issue-centric” agendas. We must learn to be inclusive and work together to ensure the longevity of the Party for years to come.
Let’s not forget all the accomplishments we’ve achieved during my time as Chair by working together:
- Introducing the 2010 LLIFE Platform, the most concise and inclusive state platform today, which has been recognized nation-wide for its innovation, effectiveness, simplicity and was overwhelmingly supported by delegates of the 2010 State Convention
- Supporting 97 candidates in the 2010 Primary Election and 12 Republican primary challenges including 7 three-way Republican primary challenges
- Filling all but 3 seats in the 2010 Election with Republican candidates; a tremendous improvement from 2008 when we had 29 seats where Democrats ran unopposed
- Winning 3 legislative races and increasing the House of Representatives from 6 to 8, ending a ten-year streak of losing legislative members
- Increasing HRP membership by over 1,000
- Increasing HRP small donors by nearly 2,000
- Recruiting and training nearly 50 candidates for the 2012 election
- Successfully identified over 60 Republican candidates to run for the Community Neighborhood Boards resulting in over 50 elected board members throughout the Honolulu County
In the past two years, our Party has demonstrated to the grassroots’ membership (and even to non-members), that this Party is approachable and is accepting of their personal concerns. As a Native Hawaiian and man of faith, I have insisted that there be a place in the Republican Party for all people, regardless of ideology, race or creed. As such, we have motivated and inspired a base of formerly inactive people within politics to the Hawai’i Republican Party.
Over the course of the last week, I have received hundreds of supportive emails and phone calls from Party members across this state. Although many of you have encouraged me to fight on and remain as Chair, my decision to resign provides a solution to the current stalemate and division within the Party. In Abraham Lincoln’s 1858 address to the Illinois Republican Convention, he stated that: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” As the leader of our Party, the overall unity and the inclusion of all principled groups within the party has been my objective. It was never my intent to divide members, only to identify and include new ones. The overall health of the Party is more important than any one person, issue, or candidate. As I’ve often stated, it is the love for my family and children of Hawaii that has remained the driving force behind my sacrifices.
My very best goes out to 1st Vice Chair Beth Fukumoto, who by Party Rules will be the Interim State Chair. As a candidate in 2010, Beth understands the importance of a grassroots-focused party for all candidates. My hope is that everyone will offer their support, guidance and assistance as this transition takes place.
I would like to take this time to thank my wife and children for the countless hours this position has taken me away from home. Their sacrifice along with mine was has been our contribution to the party and there is absolutely no regret. I would also like to thank the many grassroots leaders and candidates that have worked tirelessly to rejuvenate and reinvigorate this party. Your shared sacrifice and investment over the course of the next ten years will yield incredible fruit for years to come. Whatever my future holds, I will remain intimately involved in the Republican Party. I am forever dedicated to growing this Party and making it a place that is inclusive for all Republicans.
As our state motto proclaims: “Ua mau ke ea o ka `aina i ka pono”, may we be guided by always doing what is right for the people of Hawaii.
Mahalo Nui Loa and until we meet again, I remain,
Jonah-Kūhiō Kalaniana`ole Ka`auwai
Statement from new Hawaii GOP Chair Beth Fukumoto:
"First and foremost, I want to acknowledge Jonah's resignation and thank him for his service to the Hawaii Republican Party.
During his term, Jonah worked to create a vital grassroots network within the Hawaii Republican Party. I personally have been intimately involved with many of these grassroots organizations, and Jonah's efforts to build them will be a good foundation.
Now, as we move forward, I want to echo Jonah's statements that the Party membership works together to "ensure the longevity of the Party for years to come."
I feel it is imperative that we unite and continue building toward a better future for our party and the State of Hawaii. It is our responsibility as Republicans to make sure that the voters of Hawaii have a diversity of voices that will only lead to better government and a more prosperous Hawaii.
I look forward to working with my fellow Republicans to fulfill that responsibility to elect more Republicans in 2012 and beyond in order to have a meaningful two-party system.
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