Four Steps For Change: Legislative, Electoral, Judicial and Grassroots


Like you, I care deeply about the problems and challenges facing us here in Hawaii, my home and the birthplace of my children and grandchildren.

There are many pathways to effect change but the lens of advocacy through which I view the world, is one of policy and politics.

The tools/strategies and tactics available are primarily:

  1. Legislative – changing the law
  2. Electoral – changing the people who can change the law
  3. Judicial – challenge the law, the lack of law, or enforcement of the law in court
  4. Grassroots – challenge the system, challenge the lawmakers


The 2019 legislative session represents an opportunity to build on the momentum of recent successes in both the 2018 legislative session and more importantly the 2018 elections and related hard fought campaigns.

The 2019 legislative agenda will no doubt include as a top priority a demand to increase the minimum wage to that of a $17 per hour living wage.  2019 will also be the year that increased dedicated funding for public education will finally be passed.  How could this not happen now especially after the collapse of the Con Am effort?  Expanded public funding of elections, automatic voter registration, and other election reforms are also in order.  Protecting reefs and coastal waters from continuous contamination from cesspool and septic system leaching, as well as the legalization of cannabisfor use by responsible adults will be on the “must pass” in 2019 list.


Many of you have asked, so here are my election choices (from Governor through Mayor, Council, OHA and Charter/Constitutional amendments) from a Kauai Ballot perspective.  I am especially hopeful that Felicia Cowden, Adam Roversi and Mason Chock will be elected to the Kauai County Council.

I am hoping my friends on Maui understand that EVERY MAUI RESIDENT CAN VOTE FOR EVERY MAUI COUNCIL SEAT.  

Like the OHA races, it is a bit confusing as people who live in Kihei for example sometimes don’t realize they can (and should) vote for all council seats in all districts.  For example, Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, who is a fabulous candidate running for the Molokai seat, will serve both her home community of Molokai and all of Maui county as well.  I encourage all my friends and associates on Maui, regardless of where you live to read up on Keani and consider giving her one of your votes!

The other Maui Ohana Candidates also have my personal support and represent a solid community based cross section of experience and perspectives.

If you are still undecided as to the Con Con, please consider reading: “Why I am voting No on Con Con…”

And just for fun, take a moment to read and share with friends:
Indulge for a moment, my rant on voting…”


Nationally and locally there are both public interest law firms and “plaintiff’s law firms” gearing up to pursue the chemical companies, the State of Hawaii and the various Counties for failing to protect students, children, and the general public from the now very well publicized negative impacts of RoundUp and other dangerous chemicals.  A defense focused on plausible deniability might have worked 5 or 10 years ago but the mounting evidence, related court cases, and the ubiquitous publicity has effectively taken the “I didn’t know” defense off the table.  The historical and well documented cavalier attitude by local government toward the use of these chemicals will no doubt come back to haunt those who continue to keep their heads in the sand on this important public health issue.


At the grassroots level we continue to build and expand our networks.  On each and every island there are increasing numbers of informed advocates, who not only understand the process and the issues but are motivated and engaged.  On January 16th (hold the date) opening day at the legislature, many will be gathering at the Capitol to express their thoughts, feeling, concerns and priorities.  No doubt, a fair number of teachers will also be present this day.

Summary – Next Steps

My role and that of Pono Hawaii Initiative (PHI) is one of support, education, and communication.  Working together with the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) and many others our mission is to facilitate, support, and help catalyze the change that is so badly needed.  My job is to push, and to lead, and to find others who will also push and lead.

To continue doing this work, requires the help and contributions from many, and it requires fundraising – constant fundraising.  At this moment we are investing in building the mother of all constituent contact systems (MOACCS).  This will GREATLY enhance our ability to network and communicate with advocates from all islands.  You can read more about it here “Doubling Down and Next Steps To Win”.

Fundraising – a soft ask for a hard need

To complete the design and build of the MOACCS system, and to continue funding our basic day to day costs (which are minimal) we still must raise an additional $8,765 by November 1st.  So many have already given, and it is my goal today to reach NEW people who have not given in the past (or at least not recently).  $100 contributed by 90 people by November 1st, would alleviate the stress and allow us to move forward and maintain momentum.

Please know that I would not be asking if the funds were not urgently needed for us to continue the work.  The nature of fundraising (for me anyway), is to wait until the last minute (hoping that no ask will be needed)…but in the end…asking is always required…and one would think I would have learned this by now.  So please, if you support the work we are doing and would like us to continue strong through the end of this year and into the 2019 legislative session – a donation of $100 or any amount by November 1st would be tremendously helpful.

Contributions may be made online or mailed to:

Pono Hawaii Initiative (PHI)
P.O. Box 871
Honolulu, HI 96808

Pono Hawai’i Initiative is a 501c(4) entity and is required to clearly disclose to donors and potential donors that contributions are *NOT* deductible as charitable contributions.  Contributions or gifts to Pono Hawai’i Initiative are not deductible for Federal income tax purposes.

Mahalo to all for your concern and interest in helping to move Hawaii forward on so many important levels.  As always, never hesitate to contact me directly should you have ideas, suggestions, or concerns you would like to share.

Yours truly,
Gary Hooser

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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