State Democratic Parties tend to be cheerleading squads for the parties' elected officials. And that's even more true in Hawai'i than in many other states. But yesterday Hawai'i experienced a real jolt-- if not a political earthquake-- when the state party overwhelmingly passed a resolution, 46-19, expressing their disappointment in reactionary Congressman Ed Case over his positions, actions and inaction on Build Back Better.
The party stopped short of condemnation or expulsion but this is far from an everyday occurrence and with Case in a tough primary battle with progressive grassroots candidate Sergio Alcubilla. it was a tough pill for him to swallow. Party leaders are still uneasy about Case's long anti-progressive history and repeated primary challenges-- all defeated-- against other progressive elected officials. He is also the only member of the Hawai'i congressional delegation to offer to work with the Republican Party to privatize Social Security.
The resolution doesn't mention Alcubilla but there is a strong implication that many of the party officials prefer him to Case in the August 13th primary. Last October Blue America endorsed Alcubilla for the seat and has been helping him raise campaign funds. [You can contribute to his campaign at this link.] Yesterday, in a press release, Alcubilla said that he's "grateful for the incredible response and support I’ve received from the community in the short time since we launched our campaign. Every day, I hear from more people who are tired of the status quo of elected leaders putting corporate interests over the people’s needs. There is a hunger for change in Hawai‘i, and 2022 will be the year we make it happen." The release also notes that his fundraising contrasts sharply with Case's, "who receives the bulk of his donations from big-dollar contributors and corporate PACs. Rep. Case’s most recent FEC filing reported less than 5% of funds raised from Hawai‘i residents, and a donor list that includes Lockheed Martin, Amazon, AT&T, and dozens of other large corporations. A central plank of Sergio Alcubilla's campaign for Congress is campaign finance reform. He strongly supports overturning the Citizen United Supreme Court decision which gives corporations the ability to spend unlimited amounts of money on influencing elections. Alcubilla has made a firm commitment to not accept money from big business or corporate PACs."
Alcubilla has been endorsed by former Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii Tim Vandeveer, former Executive Director of Sierra Club of Hawai‘i Marti Townsend, Hawaiian rights advocate and civil rights attorney Lindsay Kukona Pakele, and several other local community leaders. Former Presidential candidate Marriane Williamson has also endorsed Alcubilla's campaign.
Running on a progressive platform, Alcubilla advocates for the interests of working and middle-class families, seniors, and the environment. He supports more funding for affordable housing, paid family leave, and universal childcare and pre-K. He will work to pass Medicare-For-All and supports tuition-free community colleges and State universities. He stands with the community in calling for the immediate decommissioning of the Red Hill fuel tanks, and is in full support of passing the Green New Deal.
Below is the resolution the state party passed concerning Case's betrayal of working families in the state on behalf of his corporate donors:
WHEREAS, the passage of the Build Back Better Pact is the top priority of President Biden and an overwhelming majority of Democrats in both chambers of Congress; and
WHEREAS, the original version of Build Back Better Act contained provisions to support workers, families, children, students, retirees, affordable housing, climate change mitigation, and additional components that were described by analysts as transformative for America’s social safety net, infrastructure, and climate action plans; and
WHEREAS, Democrats currently hold a slim majority in the United States House of Representatives; and
WHEREAS, Hawai’i Congressman Ed Case is Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Coalition in the United States House of Representatives; and
WHEREAS, numerous media sources have reported and Congressman Ed Case has acknowledged that Blue Dog Coalition members leveraged their disproportionate power stemming from the slim Democratic majority to delay the passage of the Build Back Better Act in the United States House of Representatives; and
WHEREAS, delaying passage of the Build Back Better agenda has contributed greatly to the weakening of that agenda, which has been modified from a $6 trillion proposal to a $1.75 trillion proposal through the elimination of core ideas, such as making college more affordable; and
WHEREAS, Congressman Ed Case further contributed to the weakening of the Build Back Better program by supporting efforts to delink passage of its initiatives to strengthen the United States’ social safety net from provisions funding infrastructure improvements; and
WHEREAS, all other members of the Hawai’i congressional delegation have publicly supported and sought to strengthen each of the components contained in the original Build Back Better legislation; and
WHEREAS, Congressman Ed Case’s actions have resulted in Build Back Better legislation that will likely contain fewer benefits to Hawai’i’s working families, including weaker provisions regarding Medicare programs accessed by retirees, less robust early child care support for Hawai’i keiki, a lack of free community college and trade schools, and limited paid family leave insurance; now, therefore
BE IT RESOLVED that the Democratic Party of Hawai’i expresses its disappointment in the actions of Congressman Ed Case regarding passage of the Build Back Better agenda; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Democratic Party of Hawai’i hereby notes that the actions of Congressman Ed Case with regard to the passage of Build Back Better legislation do not reflect the values and principles of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i as outlined in our platform, prior adopted resolutions, and mission statement; and
BE IT RESOLVED that copies of this resolution shall be distributed to President Biden, United States House Speaker Pelosi, all Members of Congress who are Democrats, all members of the Democratic National Committee, local and national press organizations, and be posted prominently on the Democratic Party of Hawai’i website and social media pages.