Political Radar

House GOP

December 31st, 2014

House Republicans on Wednesday organized behind Rep. Beth Fukumoto Chang (R, Mililani-Mililani Mauka-Waipio Acres) for the upcoming Legislative session.

In a news release, Fukumoto Chang said:

"Our caucus worked through a lot of disagreements and differences of opinion in the last few weeks, and that dialogue is important for any organization. I'm glad that we'll be able to start off the year with a caucus that's organized and prepared to be strong advocates for the people of Hawaii."

The announcement Wednesday came two days after Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson (Fort Shafter-Moanalua Gardens-Aliamanu), the former minority leader, said he was switching parties and joining the House Democrats.

The defection of Johanson, who was embroiled in a fight to keep his leadership post, leaves House Republicans with seven members.

Sources said Fukumoto Chang, 31, had secured the backing of Reps. Cynthia Thielen (R, Kailua-Kaneohe), Lauren Cheape (R, Mililani-Schofield-Kunia) and newcomer Feki Pouha (R, Waialua-Kahuku-Waiahole).

Another newcomer, Rep. Andria Tupola (R, Kalaeloa-Ko Olina-Maili) will serve as minority floor leader. Other members of the caucus include Reps. Gene Ward (R, Kalama Valley-Queen's Gate-Hawaii-Kai) and Rep. Bob McDermott (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point).

In a statement, Tupola said:

“I’m honored that my caucus would trust me as floor leader and know that I will grow and refine my leadership ability.  I’m excited to bring fresh perspective and work hard."

Johanson, the minority leader who led the caucus in joining the Democratic coalition backing Rep. Joe Souki as speaker in 2013, said the fight over party leadership did not influence his decision to switch parties, but that he felt some party members were increasingly demanding "ideological purity."

Fukumoto Chang, 31, is believed to be the youngest representative chosen as minority leader, assuming the role at a year younger than Johanson was when he was selected in 2012.

5 Responses to “House GOP”

  1. Kolea:

    This is an interesting twist to the story. Even with Johanson leaving, the more moderate faction in the House Minority Caucus has triumphed over the more hardline, Tea Party faction.


  2. Ted Baker:

    Best of luck to to Rep. Fukumoto Chang. Given the small size of her caucus, she will need to focus them on their area of core commonality (economics, tax policy, etc.) to be relevant. If the group gets sidetracked over social issues, particularly the obsessions of one member in particular, it will be same old, same old for the GOP, i.e., invisible.

    No doubt, "Eric Ryan" has an extremely different opinion.


  3. Tyrion Lannister:

    Johanson claimed he was being pressed to adopt "ideological purity?" Several members of the minority of caucus would have settled for him displaying ANY closely held principles. If you can go from Republican Minority Leader to loyal Joe Souki Democrat in twenty four hours, your ability to be "flexible" approaches spinelessness. When Aaron waxed poetic about "compromise" he really meant capitulation.


  4. Tyrion Lannister:

    Kolea - there is no "Tea Party" faction of the Republican Minority Caucus. There are some who are more socially conservative on certain issues and feel they should provide some representation to the thousands of people who feel the same way. There are however "factions" within your beloved Democrat Party who would prefer to have citizens who disagree with THEIR brand of "ideological purity" brainwashed into compliance or criminalized. Perhaps Johanson has found a more comfortable base of operations.


  5. Eric Ryan:

    On the bright side, Fukumoto does support virtually everything in the Democrat platform as her legislative votes clearly attest. So she should get along quite swimmingly with Souki's gang just as well as Johanson ever did. Anybody worried about the reform of Hawaii State Government can go back to sleep for the next two years.


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