The Hawaii County Democratic Party convention — set for May 18 and May 19 at Kilauea Military Camp in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park — will feature speeches by Gov. Neil Abercrombie and U.S. Senator Brian Schatz as well as Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa.
State legislators will also be in attendance, giving updates on the outcome of this year’s legislative session while serving on afternoon forums tackling such issues as alternate energy and green financing, the future of agriculture in Hawaii, the working poor, education and the University of Hawaii system, health care in Hawaii under Obamacare, and geothermal, the science and where its development in Hawaii is headed. Congresswoman Hanabusa, State Sens.Gil Kahele, Russ Ruderman and Malama Solomon will give forum presentations as will State Rep. Nicole Lowen.
Other forum speakers include Jim Kauahikaua, chief scientist for the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory; Paul Ponthieux, director of sustainability initiatives for Blue Planet; Steve Holmes, District 6 chair and former Honolulu councilman; Barbara Franklin, attorney and ACLU member; and Howard Ainsley, Hilo Medical Center CEO. Steve Hirakami, Tony Marzi and Sandra Scarr will also make forum presentations.
The findings and recommendations of the State Tax Commission as they relate to the financial crisis facing many aspects of state and county services will be addressed by Randy Iwase, Tax Commission chair, on the first morning of the convention, The opening day’s agenda, all set for KMC’s Ohia Room, includes election of officers for the Democrats’ Hawaii County Central Committee and the State Central Committee.
Other attractions for this off-election year convention include a free musical performance as well as a meeting of newly organized Young Democrats, beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday night. As a means of building the party and encouraging political involvement by the younger generation, delegates are asked to each bring a young person as their convention guest to the convention. Music by El Leo & the Jarican Express will have Democrats young and old taking to the dance floor in the Lava Lounge from 7 to 9 p.m. that night.
The Sunday morning program offers presentations by Kai Kahele and Micah Alameda, Kahele’s campaign managers, on the use of social media in politics and David Tarnas, offering a Users’ Guide to Citizen Advocates of Hawaii Legislature. The convention will wind up with Phil Barnes and Steve Pavao providing training on HCDP roles and rules, including training for district and precinct officers. Convention registration is $35 and must be paid by May 11. The registration fee covers the buffet luncheon and morning refreshments.
There is a $10 fee for the young guests and other observers to cover the luncheon. Convention registration forms may be downloaded from the www.hawaiicountydemocrats.org website.