Fukumoto has been planning this move for a long time. All the noise and posturing is related to her effort to negotiate the best deal for herself as a member of the the Democratic Caucus. Obviously a key concern will be the challenge Fukumoto would face from former Rep Marilyn Lee in the 2018 Democratic Primary.
Which Democrat will be elbowed aside to make way for their latest addition?
Which will be bought off?
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Minority Caucus Fact Check
News Release from Office of Rep Andrea Tupola February 4, 2017
HONOLULU, HAWAII – As a result of inaccurate statements following the minority leadership change, we feel there is a need to set the record straight regarding our caucus.
1. WAS OUR PRIOR LEADER REPLACED BECAUSE OF HER PARTICIPATION IN THE WOMEN’S MARCH? NO. The change in leadership was rooted in growing discontent among some members regarding the direction of our caucus or the lack thereof. We had serious discussions about our dwindling numbers and plan moving forward.
2. WAS OUR PRIOR LEADER ASKED TO STOP PERSONALLY CRITICIZING THE PRESIDENT? NO. She was asked to not attack or label our party members, including the President, when speaking as the leader on behalf of all of us.
3. WAS OUR PRIOR LEADER PRESSURED TO LEAVE THE CAUCUS? NO. She was invited and welcomed to stay.
4. DOES THE MINORITY CAUCUS AGREE ON ANYTHING? YES. We had our first consensus of the session voting against taxing internet sales.
“I look forward to serving my caucus members and helping them become champions of the issues for which they are passionate,” said Representative Tupola. “Our State is in desperate need of leadership and better ideas that don’t involve taxing everything and anything. We are the group to do the job.”
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New Leadership for the House Minority Caucus
News Release from Hawaii House Republican Caucus February 1, 2017
HONOLULU, HAWAII – The Hawaii House Minority Caucus has changed its leadership, electing Representative Andria Tupola (District 43 – Ewa Villages, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Nanakai Gardens, Ko Olina, Kahe Point, Nanakuli, Lualualei, Maili) as Minority Leader and Representative Gene Ward (District 17 – Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley) as Minority Floor Leader.
“We thank Representative Fukumoto for her service to the caucus. However, we believe that it is time for the minority to take a new direction.”
"There is a lot our caucus agrees on, and I look forward to highlighting the strength of each member, helping them champion the issues important to them. I look forward to serving our caucus and bringing our voice to the forefront of the conversation addressing of our State’s rising cost of living, increase in homelessness, unfunded liabilities, and many other quality of life issues."
“We need to rise to the occasion and gather with every department, legislator, union, business, or community member that is willing to work towards positive change.”
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HAWAII STATE GOP CHAIR'S STATEMENT ON NEW HOUSE CAUCUS LEADERSHIP
News Release from Hawaii Republican Party
HONOLULU (February 1, 2017) - GOP State Chair Fritz Rohlfing released the following statement regarding the change of leadership in the GOP House Caucus.
"I congratulate Representative Andria Tupola and Representative Gene Ward on their selection as House Republican Leader and House Republican Floor Leader respectively."
"The members of the House GOP caucus have determined who should lead them. It is entirely appropriate for them to take into account public statements of their members in making their decision as to who they want as their leaders."
"I am aware that Republican Representative Beth Fukumoto is apparently considering leaving the Republican Party and she has said that she is seeking input from her constituents regarding the matter."
"Although she is no longer the House GOP Leader, I believe she still can fulfill an important role as a Republican member of the State House. I therefore urge her to remain in the Party."
"If she does decide to leave the Republican Party, however, and join the Democratic Party less than 3 months after having been re-elected as a Republican, I believe the honorable thing for her to do would be to immediately resign her legislative seat so our Party can propose to the Governor replacements for appointment from her district within the time frame provided under Hawaii state law."
"Moreover, I echo the sentiments of Congresswoman Pat Saiki when she said: 'It takes courage to stand up to the political machine that has dominated island politics since statehood. I and tens of thousands of other Hawaii Republicans intend to remain the loyal opposition and keep fighting for a better future for our State.'"
Please contact Jack James, our Executive Director, for any interview requests or assistance.
For more information and to stay connected, please like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HawaiiRepublicanParty, follow us on Twitter @gophawaii, and visit our website at www.gophawaii.com.
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Rep Beth Fukumoto Message to Constituents January, 2017
Aloha Friends & Neighbors,
This week, Republicans in the state Legislature and in party leadership sought to censure me for raising concerns about the treatment of women and minorities by politicians in power. They have also insisted that I stop working across the aisle and focus more on partisan politics. For these reasons, I am considering leaving the Republican Party and pursuing membership in the Democratic Party.
It is my belief that I can no longer remain a member of a party that punishes dissent. Furthermore, I believe that it is my job as your representative to work with everyone, regardless of party, to accomplish things for Mililani. I have always said that we should work to find common ground, even when we disagree, but powerful voices in the Republican Party continue to fight against compromise.
In the last four years as your representative, I’ve told you repeatedly that I will always put the interests of your family and our community over the interests of my party or any other outside group. I am your representative, and like you, I think that government should be working for the people. I believe that partisan politics have gotten out of hand. And, I believe that we deserve more from our politicians.
When you elected me in November, you elected me as a Republican. And, I want to honor that. I do believe that I can better serve you as a Democrat because I think the party will allow me increased freedom to address the needs of our community without the constant threat of censure. However, I do not want to make a decision to change parties without consulting you first.
Again, no decision has been made. I am your representative, and your opinion is what counts. Mililani is my home, you are my community, and I will always put you first. I hope, after reading this, you’ll take the time to contact me to let me know if you have any questions, concerns or comments. You can contact me via phone at (808) 586-9460 or email at email@example.com.
Rep Beth Fukumoto News Release January 31, 2017
In the last couple years, I’ve watched leaders in the Republican Party become less and less tolerant of diverse opinions and dissenting voices. I am under constant scrutiny for working across the aisle to pass common sense legislation that will benefit my district and the people of Hawaii.
Today, I’m facing demands for my resignation from leadership and possible censure because I raised concerns about our President’s treatment of women and minorities. I’ve been asked by both my party and my caucus to commit to not criticizing the President for the remainder of his term and to take a more partisan approach to working in the Legislature.
That is not a commitment I can make. As a representative of my community, it is my job to hold leaders accountable and to work with anyone, regardless of party, to make Hawaii a better place for our families.
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Rep. Della Au Belatti introduces Rep. Beth Fukumoto at the 2017 Women's March.
From Rep Beth Fukumoto, January 21, 2017
Thank you Della and thank you all for having me here.
Today I'd like to talk to you about my niece. She's eight years old, and she's campaigned with me since she was two. She's come with me to all sorts of events. And, last summer when I stood up at my party's convention she watched as a ballroom full of men and women tossed insults and booed me because instead of pledging to support my party's nominee I said I thought his remarks were racist and sexist and that they had no place in the Republican Party.
Now, to that room full of people, I was a traitor, or a fake, or one of the many derogatory words I was called on social media afterward. To my niece, I had told the truth. Because little kids know right and wrong. We teach them that their supposed to be nice and kind to everyone even when they're different. So, she didn't understand why people would be so mean to her aunt who stood on stage and said Donald Trump's shouldn't say the things he says.
We had to explain to my niece later, that sometimes people are angry and they don't know how to express it so they treat other people badly. We explained that sometimes people are bullies, but that you should insist that they treat people with respect. We told her that you always stand up to bullies no matter who they are.
Then she watched a bully win the presidency of the United States.
It doesn't matter to me who you voted for. People cast their votes for a lot of different reasons. But, no matter who your choice was, the fact remains the same. A man won the White House with anger and hate, and our kids watched it happen. Now, it's our jobs to make sure they watch us fight back.
So what I'm going to ask you to do today is get involved. Testify at the Legislature, run for office, help on a campaign, but do it with kindness. Show our kids that everyone's voice matters, even when they believe the opposite thing you do. Teach them that everyone deserves respect. In the end, LOVE always wins.