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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.

New attorney

December 30th, 2014

Blake Oshiro, who served three years as deputy chief of staff under former Gov. Neil Abercrombie, is returning to private practice, joining the law firm of Alston Hunt Floyd and Ing as director of counsel.

Oshiro, a former state representative, joins the firm's government relations team.

In a news release, Oshiro said:

“I look forward to using my experience and networks in the state government, coupled with my knowledge of the law, to help clients develop strategies that work consistent with state policies so that in collaboration with policy decision-makers, we move forward as a community.”

Oshiro’s areas of practice also include commercial litigation, employment law, government contracts, entity formation and governance and environmental law, the firm said.

"808 State Update"

December 24th, 2014

Screen shot 2014-12-24 at 2.00.14 PM

After his loss in the November general election, Republican gubernatorial candidate James "Duke" Aiona is moving on to the next phase of his political life: a talk radio show.

In a holiday email sent to supporters on Wednesday, Aiona outlined his immediate future:

First, I will continue my legal practice with an emphasis on Estate Planning, Family Law, and Mediation.

I am excited to let you know that on January 5, 2015 I will co-host the “808 State Update” daily radio show on 940 am KKNE, along-side producer and co-host Dawn O' Brien. The show will air Monday through Friday from 3pm – 5pm.

O'Brien was Aiona's campaign spokes­woman and is a former radio show host on KAIM-FM The Fish, a Christian station.

Aiona said the show's mission is to "inspire, educate and engage" listeners on the state's political process in an effort to increase civic participation in government and voter turnout. Topics also will include other issues important to Hawaii, such as sports, finance, education and health. He also expects to have a daily educational feature on civics and surprise guests, too.



Chief of staff

December 22nd, 2014

Long-time public policy executive Rod Tanonaka has been selected as chief of staff for U.S. Rep.-elect Mark Takai.

Tanonaka has been serving in the same capacity for U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who Takai will succeed in office, a Takai spokesman said in a news release Monday.

Tanonaka, who will be based in Hawaii, has known Takai since their days together at the University of Hawaii.

Said Takai:

“His career has been focused on serving the public since graduation from UH, and he has deep experience working on federal issues that are critical to the people of Hawaii."

Takai, who defeated Republican Charles Djou in the November election, is scheduled to be sworn into office on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C.

Committeewoman's Report

December 11th, 2014

One of the state's top Republicans says the party needs to study and try to emulate the winning formula of former Gov. Linda Lingle, who became Hawaii's first GOP governor since statehood when she was elected in 2002 and 2006.

In her report submitted to the state committee, Hawaii Republican National Committeewoman Miriam Hellreich urged her fellow party members to reconnect with voters.

An excerpt from her report, released Thursday:

While we fell short of victory in many of our local races, we need to as a party to recommit ourselves NOW to the grassroots effort to identify, register new voters, and to begin fundraising programs that will be necessary to produce victories two years from now and beyond. The RNC 365 Days Per Year Model for victory cannot be overlooked.  We cannot relax after elections and expect to wait a year before preparing for elections. We need boots on the ground, community service projects and voter programs throughout the year.

The Linda Lingle path to victory, which began shortly after the 1998 gubernatorial loss and extended to 2002 when she was elected the First Republican Governor since statehood, has to be evaluated and emulated. Republicans can be elected in our state if we recruit district and precinct workers who are willing to put in the work in their districts and precincts that is needed to “out vote” the opposition. It was done in 2002 and 2006 and it can be done again. Many may forget that in 2006 our Republican Governor and Lt. Governor won every single district in our state.

The full report can be viewed below.


Committeewoman's Report