by Andrew Walden
Meeting in convention at the Hilton Hawaiian Village May 15, Hawaii Republicans voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution expressing opposition to House Bill 444—gay civil unions. The smattering of nay votes came from a surprising quarter: Paul Smith and his Hawaii Republican Assembly (HiRA).
HiRA, founded in 2009, bills itself as “The Republican wing of the Republican Party” and the casual observer may view HiRA as a conservative group. But HiRA’s website refers to the group specifically as “A home for Hawaii fiscal conservatives.” (emphasis added)
In addition to voting against the resolution on HB444, HiRA Chairman Paul Smith proposed the convention direct the GOP State Committee to adopt a “Contract with Hawaii” for Republican candidates to run on. HiRA’s proposed “Contract with Hawaii” has positions on several economic issues—including Paul Smith’s bete noir, the Jones Act, which he has blamed for the loss of a business he once owned. But the HiRA Contract was completely silent on HB444—one of the hottest political issues of this election cycle. Convention delegates overwhelmingly rejected his proposal.
This marks HiRA as distinct from other affiliates of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies—co-founded by the California and Arizona Republican Assemblies in 1996. Unlike HiRA, the California Republican Assembly’s “What we believe” statement clearly outlines conservative positions on many social issues including support for the traditional family.
As an observer told Mr. Smith: “I think you one moderate.”
Supporters of HiRA teamed up with Ron Paul libertarians—who are extremely liberal on issues such as national defense, gay marriage, drugs, gambling, and prostitution—in an unsuccessful March, 2009 attempt to take over the Honolulu County Republican organization.
Prominent supporters of HiRA such as Eric Ryan and Mike Palcic initially teamed up with leading Hawaii Ron Paul supporters Daniel Brackins and Dan Douglass in support of the long shot Republican Primary gubernatorial campaign of proud Larry Mehau associate, former State Senator John Carroll. But they soon had a falling out the alleged details of which Ryan has splashed all over the website: http://www.citizensforcarroll.com/.
But even Carroll does not go along with HiRA’s refusal to oppose HB444. Asked about HiRA’s convention vote at a May 16 speaking engagement in Hilo, Carroll emphasized his opposition to HB444 and pointed out he had co-signed a letter asking Governor Lingle to veto the measure.
Carroll was speaking at a meeting of the Conservative Forum of Hawaii. ConFor was co-founded earlier this year by Puna Republican Walter Moe. Over the last two election cycles, Moe campaigned unsuccessfully to elect Kaniu Kinimaka-Stocksdale to the Hawaii County Council. Akamai readers will remember the role played by Stocksdale in events surrounding the resignation of DoE Superintendent Paul LeMahieu in October, 2001. Accused of using "extraordinary powers granted by the federal court" (under the Felix consent decree) to steer a $600K of a DoE/PREL contract to Stocksdale's company, Superintendent LeMahieu resigned after Stocksdale admitted to a Legislative hearing that they had an affair. Stocksdale has attended several ConFor events and was in the audience May 16.
At the 2009 State GOP Convention both Paul Smith and Mike Palcic campaigned for party chair against Jonah Kaauwai. The vote totals were: 175 Kaauwai, 33 Smith, 5 Palcic.
At the 2010 Hawaii GOP convention, Palcic did not attend the sessions. He was escorted out of the lobby after allegedly shoving Hawaii GOP Executive Director Justin Menolascino.
Full Text: Hawaii GOP resolution calls for veto of HB444
Political porn: LA Times comes to Hawaii for a quickie