Status quo, good ole boys, will not get us there

Believe it or not, it’s time for those new candidates considering a run for office in 2024…to…well…get running. The August 2024 Primary Election is only 17 months or so away and anyone serious about winning, best be getting real, very soon.

I’m hoping that those interested in growing in their capacity in the area of civic leadership will consider applying to the upcoming Kuleana Academy (more info at bottom).

Elections are won and lost based primarily on name recognition, or the lack thereof. For new candidates building positive name recognition requires both money and work.

A new candidate can win purely on their willingness to do the work – knocking on doors, attending community events, participating in community work days, telephone calling, and ultimately rising early every morning to hold signs on the highway. Yes, it takes a certain amount of money for signs, brochures, and basic media, but on-the-ground campaigning is what it takes to win.

Building the team, analyzing the district, formulating the plan, fundraising, and embarking down the path of this 17-month marathon – must start now for new candidates who are serious about winning.

Having served in elective office at both the County Council level and in the Hawaiʻi State Senate, I can say without any reservation whatsoever – the experience was immensely gratifying.

Some will say it’s a thankless job, but for me, I did not find this to be the case. The love, and the overall positives, far outweighed the negatives.

We need new candidates, new energy, new perspectives and new ideas at all levels.

We need changemakers, not placeholders.

The status quo is not sustainable. And in my opinion, a majority of those now holding public office believe it’s their job to resist change and maintain the status-quo.

To be clear there are many in public office who feel the same urgency that many of us do. They understand that sea levels are rising and climate change is real. They see also the enormous and ever-growing disparity between the very rich and everyone else.

But unfortunately, they are in the minority and thus not able to swing the votes needed to make meaningful change happen.

The needs are great and the threats are real. Settling for the same good ole boy business as usual, status quo as usual – is not working.

To win, we need good people at all levels to step up and engage the civic and electoral process. There are many important opportunities to serve. Whether it’s sitting as a volunteer on a State and County board or commission, working with a non-profit advocacy group or labor union, or serving on the ground as a community organizer – all are important.

Holding elective office puts you at the table where votes are cast that change people’s lives for the better, or for the worse.

We need more good candidates, and every one of those candidates needs a campaign manager, a treasurer, and solid boots on the ground. Every elected official needs strong staff support, and they need a community that shows up and backs them up.

There are many roles to fill and now is the time to start filling them.

If you want to be a candidate and be elected to public office, now is the time to put together your team. If running for office is not your cup of tea, then seek out candidates who share your values and feel the same urgency and need for change, and join their team. Show up. Testify. Be part of the solution. Make the calls and send the emails. Help make our world a better place.

There’s much to be done and it will take all of us to get there.

Which brings me to the Kuleana Academy —

What is Kuleana Academy (KA)?

KA invests in community-accountable leaders by giving them the skills, tools, and network to run for public office, or manage a campaign, or serve on a government Board or Commission, or become community organizers.

Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) is now accepting applications for the 7th Kuleana Academy (the deadline to submit an application is March 31), a four-month political leadership development and non-partisan candidate training program for emerging leaders in Hawai‘i. Participants will be evaluated and selected via a process that includes a panel made of HAPA board members and Kuleana Academy Alliance Education Partners. Applicants will be chosen by April 30, 2023.

The program is geared toward individuals living on all islands, from across Hawaiʻi, with a track record of community service and engagement; who are seeking to grow their political leadership, advocacy, and organizing skills and expertise. Whether it is running for elected office, managing a political campaign, or honing advocacy and organizing skills, Kuleana Academy provides in-depth training, mentorship, and connection to a community of like-minded leaders.

Apply Here:

Kuleana Academy (KA) is a statewide, non-partisan, political, civic, and community-rooted leadership accelerator program.

While I am the volunteer President of the HAPA Board of Directors, I do not pick and choose who is accepted into the Kuleana Academy. Applicants are accepted based on their application information, the quality of their own outside recommendations, and an evaluation by former KA graduates, HAPA Board Members, and other community partners.

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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2 Responses to Status quo, good ole boys, will not get us there

  1. Marisa Plemer says:

    I think you’re doing all of us Hawaii residents a great favor by taking upon yourself the important critical task of KA. Thank you for your leadership! Aloha, Marisa P.

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