Hawaii Republican Convention

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Both the Hawaii Republican and Democratic parties held their 2006 political conventions this weekend. I attended the Republican convention as a delegate from our district.

Attending a political party convention is something you should do at least once in your life. These events are huge pep rallies for the party faithful and the Hawaii Republican Party convention was no exception.

The 3-day convention had the party faithful attending workshops and rallies on a number of topics including education, candidate training and policy making. The highlight of any convention are the colorful general session rallies. These are loud and pompous occasions where one can see and listen to some of their favorite candidates.

Hawaii Republicans will have a spirited primary contest for the 2nd district Congressional seat. State Senator Bob Hogue will be squaring off against former State Representative Quentin Kawananakoa in the September primary. Hogue’s camp of supporters got the general session off in a loud, wild, colorful start in what they are billing as a vote “for the good guys.” Hogue gave a rousing speech that excited his supporters and all in attendance. Kawanakakoa’s entrance was preceded by a video and then outlined with a speech after he and his supporters made it to centerstage.

Whoever wins the primary will have to face the winner in the even more crowded Democratic party primary race for the same seat.

Afterward the State House and State Senate candidates were paraded to stage in a noisy procession that inspired party supporters with hopes of victory in the fall elections. The Republican party needs to build its numbers in the House and Senate in order to make a bigger impact in what kinds of legislation gets passed every year.

Lt. Governor Duke Aiona and Governor Linda Lingle followed and made presentations outlining their accomplishments and outlining their goals for a second term after nearly 4 years in office. This is the first time in 40 years that Republicans are at a convention calling for “4 more years” with control of the executive branch.

While the rallies are always rousing and celebratory affairs aimed at kicking any campaign off to a good start, the more cerebral part of the convention focused on candidate training and crafting the party platform. As a member of the platform committee, our group spent several weeks prior to the convention updating the party platform in a number of topics (or planks) including the economy, Hawaiian issues, family, jobs, government, senior citizens and more.

Several topic points were discussed and some amended on the convention floor after a long final session that saw the party hammer out its platform. A late move to add a resolution to the platform agenda proved to be successful as North Shore Representative Colleen Meyer and candidate Carol Phillips got the support of Governor Lingle to recommend that the proposed development on the Kuilima property be re-evaluated by the city before it can move forward. The proposed resolution passed and made it to the top of the Channel 4 News that night.

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