Think About It: Republican Renaissance Reality - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

March 20, 2014

Think About It: Republican Renaissance Reality

The state Republican Party has announced that Pat Saiki will assume the head position as David Chang steps down. If you truly believe in the foundations of a democracy, then hopefully you understand how vital it is for viewpoints from all sides to at least be heard and carry some weight. In Hawaii, that hasn't been the case on most issues for many years. Even when Hawaii's people elected a Republican governor for two terms last decade, the ripple effect on other state offices was negligible. In fact, Republican representation in our legislature went down during the eight years that Linda Lingle was in office, from 16% of state senators at one point down to 8%, or 2 senators.

Today, the Republican Party can count just one state senator, and only 7 of 51 local House members are Republicans. While other state legislatures such as Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Wyoming, Utah, Kansas, and Idaho show huge majorities of one party over the other, none can match the political disparity we have here and have had here for decades. Some suggest that things either don't get done here or get done so slowly because office holders have little to fear or deal with when election season rolls around. And that's not healthy.

So what's a new party chair to do in 2014? How do you bring the various factions together- centrists and moderates vs. traditionalists and staunch conservatives? Can you develop new blood to keep the party from becoming obsolete? Is there a unifying message that will resonate with voters? Does the 2016 election give Ms. Saiki enough time to develop more viable Republican options for local and/or national offices? As the complexion of Hawaii changes, will there be more of a balance in political orientation here? Time has not been very kind to Republicans here, but time will tell. Think about it…

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