by Andrew Walden
With outgoing Hawaii Republican Party Chair David Chang on National Guard duty in South Korea as part of a six-month activation, the Hawaii Republican State Committee met Wednesday March 19, 2014 at GOP HQ on Kapiolani Blvd and voted 37-8 with one abstention to elect former US Rep Pat Saiki Party Chair.
Saiki’s nomination was made by Oahu County GOP chair Fritz Rohlfing and seconded by House Republican caucus chair Aaron Johanson. She was challenged by Hawaii Christian Coalition communications director Margaret Scow, who was nominated by HD 37 chair Mary Smart and Hawaii Republican Assembly leader Brett Kulbis.
Addressing the standing-room only crowd at GOP HQ, Scow described recruiting people to the GOP based on the party platform and emphasized her belief that “the Party should take stands on issues.”
In contrast, Saiki described her own opposition to same-sex marriage and the DoE’s controversial new Pono Choices sex-ed curriculum – but insisted that she is “not going to require candidates to take that stand.” Instead of focusing on internal ideological debates, Saiki told committee members, “If you want to change policies, you’ve got to elect people to office.” Saiki, who is pro-choice, received support from HD38 Chair Robert Camilleri. A member of the Knights of Columbus, Camilleri explained, “I am pro-life, but we need to win elections.”
Saiki told her audience that the next eight months leading up to the November elections are “a critical time” and Hawaii needs Duke Aiona as governor and Charles Djou in Congress. She set a goal of reaching the crucial 1/3 mark -- 17 Republicans in the House and nine in the Senate –- which would allow the Republican caucus to influence which bills reach the floor. Said Saiki, “We’ve got to have a legislature which believes we can effect change.”
Underlining Hawaii's role in effecting change on a national level, Saiki reminded committee members of her successful 1988 effort to reverse the US House Republican caucus opposition to reparations for Americans of Japanese Ancestry interned by the Roosevelt Administration during WW2. She stood proudly as President Reagan signed reparations into law and then later convinced President George HW Bush to end the bombing of Kahoolawe.
Striking a unity note in a party known for its internal divisions, Saiki promised her opponent’s supporters, “we’re going to work together,” encouraged HIRA members to run for office, and huddled with Scow during a break in the meeting.
Saiki's term runs until the 2015 GOP convention.
Background: Pat Saiki to be Hawaii GOP Chair
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State GOP chair confirms Djou congressional run
HNN: In an appearance on Hawaii News Now Sunrise, Pat Saiki, the newly-elected chairwoman of the Hawaii Republican Party, confirmed that former congressman Charles Djou will soon declare his candidacy in the upcoming election for the state's 1st Congressional District.
During her interview, which aired on Friday morning's program, Saiki also said she expected Duke Aiona to formally enter the state's gubernatorial race.
read ... Djou for Congress
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A Letter from the State Chair
Dear Fellow Republicans, March 20, 2014
Last night, I had the privilege of being elected by the Hawaii State Republican Committee to serve you as Chairman through May 2015. I’m honored by the confidence placed in me, and look forward to carrying out our mission come November – electing Republicans to office.
Our previous Chairman, David Chang, was called to military duty and had private business projects which would have prohibited him from fully meeting the needs of our Party. He reluctantly resigned and asked me to assume this role.
My mission as Chair will be to seek and elect capable and dedicated people to office at every level of government. If our voices are to be heard, we must have the votes in the bodies that are making decisions that affect our lives. Without that vote, we are merely expressing frustrations and screaming into the wind without affecting change.
In my past experiences in elective office -– 14 years in the State Legislature (6 years in the House and 8 years in the Senate) and my two terms as a Member of Congress – I have learned that active debate is essential, but final decisions are made by the majority of those who vote.
When President George H. W. Bush appointed me Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, I was given another challenge to assist small businesses start up and thrive to help expand the growth of our nation’s economy. It was truly a learning experience for me to better understand what role private business plays in our economy.
People have asked my why, after all those years of public service, I would want to take on this task of helping build our Party. It’s because of my belief in the Republican values and principles, and, especially here in Hawaii, the need for a two-party system of government.
Hawaii Republicans have a proud history in our state – we’ve held the Governorship twice; we’ve elected members to the U.S. Senate and House; we’ve had many great leaders in our State Legislature and our counties.
But today we are down to only 7 members out of 51 in our State Legislature and only 1 out of 25 in the State Senate. If we are to indeed restore our rightful place in decision making in our state, we must have more members elected not only to our state and county bodies, but to the U.S. House, Senate and of course, the Governorship.
We must build the infrastructure of our Party and raise funds in order to assist those who are willing to step forward and represent us and our principles.
These are the reasons I am asking you to help me help our candidates get elected to office. Our candidate recruitment is going well and we have found some outstanding people who will take on Democrat incumbents in this coming election in November.
I’ve already started working with District and County Chairs on each island and our candidate training has begun. The Republican National Committee is very supportive and has offered help and guidance. They are optimistic of keeping the majority in the U.S. House and taking the majority in the U.S. Senate this year. We hope to elect members to those bodies as well and have a voice in the coming Republican Congress.
I am asking you to join me in this effort to elect Republicans to office. You can do this by making a secure donation of $25, $50, or $100 or more today, so we can get on with our task of increasing our numbers where it counts - in the bodies which determine the direction of our lives, our state and our nation.
Click here to make a $25, $50, or $100 donation today via our secure system.
Mahalo for your trust and confidence in me, as your newly elected Chair. I look forward to serving you and our Hawaii Republican Party.
Pat Saiki, State Chair
Republican Party of Hawaii