We, at the Hawaii Republican Party, would like to express our sincere disappointment over Representative Beth Fukumoto’s decision to switch parties. Most of us have known Beth for many years, as a colleague and friend, at the Capitol and on the campaign trail. Her decision to seek membership in the Democratic Party has been a tremendous let-down for so many of her supporters and particularly her constituents, who last November went to polls to elect a Republican, not a Democrat.
We recognize that it is not easy to be a Republican in the state of Hawaii. It is not easy to stand alone in support of ideals that buck the political elite, where you find yourself outnumbered ten-to-one. It is not easy to stand firmly on principles and values, and debate the issues openly and honestly. It is not easy to stand in defiance of an entrenched political machine that has dominated our state’s politics for three generations and has given so much power to just a few insiders.
However, it is easy to discard your principles and values and side with the majority. It is easy to abandon the tough discussions and debate and join a sycophant chorus, hoping for a quick reward or kickback. It is easy to advocate for your caucus, rather than your constituents.
It is truly disappointing that Beth chose to leave the Hawaii Republican Party just as we enter a new phase, under new leadership, with a new vision and mission to expand our base and implement a diversified strategic platform. Beth is a capable legislator and could have played a pivotal role in re-energizing our party. The biggest disappointment, however, is that she made this decision for political expediency and personal gain, rather than for reasons more understandable and rooted in honesty and integrity.
Moving forward, it will be the goal of our party to recruit compelling candidates of solid character and motivations–not fair weather politicians–with the strength to debate the difficult issues we face in our communities, the courage to boldly face our opposition and the resolve to stay the course until we’ve achieved our foremost goal of improving the lives of the people of Hawaii.