23 to 21

December 3rd, 2012

State Rep. Joseph Souki has a 23 to 21 advantage over Speaker Calvin Say among Democrats in their House leadership fight.

Rep. John Mizuno, who had been in Say’s camp, has joined Souki and his coalition of dissidents and Republicans. Mizuno would be vice speaker if Souki takes power.

Newly-elected Rep. Takashi Ohno said Monday that he, too, is cooperating with Souki. Ohno had been undecided.

Souki, the dissidents, and the Republicans have 30 votes, four more than the 26 necessary to control the House. Most significantly, however, Souki has the edge over Say among Democrats.

“I am pleased that Representative John Mizuno has agreed to serve as the House vice speaker. He has been a strong leader in his community for decades and has a successful record of working for the needs of Hawaii’s people,” Souki said in a statement.

Say said that he was disappointed that Mizuno had left but predicted others in his faction would hold, forcing Souki to follow through on his pledge to organize with Republicans when the session opens in January. “We’ll stay together,” he said.

Souki, of Maui, also announced on Monday that Maui Rep. Gilbert Keith-Agaran would be majority leader if Souki becomes speaker. Keith-Agaran is the House Judiciary Committee chairman, the most influential post for a dissident under Say.

12 Responses to “23 to 21”

  1. Bart Dame:

    If Joe Souki truly has a majority of the Democratic Caucus supporting him, and if those numbers hold up until Opening Day, I think the burden falls upon Speaker Say’s supporters to fall in behind Souki rather than persist in a game of “chicken” in the hope of forcing Souki to rely upon Republican votes. If, indeed, Souki is only able to break the impasse with Republican help, it will be because he was forced to do so due to the intransigence of Say’s supporters.

    Meanwhile, Say’s supporters are trying to convince Democratic Party activists to call their Democratic representative and demand they not support a leadership plan which includes Republicans. It is disappointing to watch avid Democrats being “played” so obviously by the more conservative faction of the House, when the preponderance of pro-environment, pro-GLBT, pro-choice and pro-labor representatives, are aligned behind Souki. More Dems who oppose the PLDC are behind Souki. Those who support EC in the ER are behind Souki. More who voted for Civil Unions now support Souki. While there are exceptions, this overall pattern is quite clear.

    It is often said a lot of politicians run for office as a Democrat because it increases the chance of winning. Party activists should be looking for House leadership likely to support, rather than block, legislation based upon Democratic Party platform planks and resolutions. But some in the Party leadership are duping them into supporting the more corporate, less progressive faction, under the banner of “Party loyalty.” I would think Party Loyalty might apply to the faction with the support of more Democrats. But what do I know?

  2. Hawaiino:

    K-A is representive of this whole fiasco, a self conscious power player who has some napoleanic issues. At least Say was comfortable in his skin.
    This group will end badly, they lack leadership and Speaker leaves a vacum none of them can fill. Speaker Joe is yesterday’s man and the real players (Luke, Takai et.al) are divisive and non-starters as Speaker material.
    Gonna make things really rough getting anything done this session.

  3. observationist:

    guess that signals the end of this squabble. what i don’t get is why calvin clings to power like this. if i were him id be embarassed, especially in the face of overwhelming public unhappiness with the legislature recently. seems pretty obvious where this is going, and i would thought that her would have seen this coming and voluntarily step aside and look good doing it. to go out like this kicking and screaming is just sad.

  4. Forecaster:

    Wow, isn’t Bart Dame the very Pot calling the Kettle black?

    As a Democrat -even a party “activist”, as Dame references- I must say, we, the Party (yes, you too Bart) did this to ourselves because of our Big Tent. Over the years we’ve welcomed everybody (except the Republicans) to the Democratic Party. We’ve recently expelled “democrats” for their “republican-associated behavior” (see: Gary Okino). Most recently, this Party ignored and denied partisan allegiance to Laura Theilen who tried to become a Dem because she had “republican ties”, we also tried to censure good-old Dem Donovan Dela Cruz because other “activists” were anti-rail. Our Big Tent and our “activists” did this to ourselves.

    Dame’s allusion of pro-environment, pro-GLBT, pro-choice, and pro-Labor Representatives to solely be aligned to Souki is ridiculously fallacious and ignorantly opinionated. Many in Say’s faction also fall under these above mentioned Democratic-identifiers Dame uses, what a pity that their stances, votes, and leadership positions are completely ignored and undermined by Dame’s labelling.

    As far as the “Party activists” supporting a Democratically-organized House Leadership, one should reference Section 8. Expulsion, Censure, or Reprimand. of the Democratic Party of Hawaii’s rules. (ie: “8B. A member of the Democratic Party of Hawaii may be expelled, censured, or reprimanded for the following reasons: 1) Active support or promotion of a political party or any candidate(s) of a political party other than the Democratic Party. 2) Failure of a candidate or an Elected official to follow & abide by the Constitution of the Democratic Party of Hawaii”.)

    Precedence shows our Party doesn’t have a problem holding our Democratic Elected Officials accountable for their alignments interpreted by “activists” in the Party, so when will we be holding Souki, Mizuno, Luke, Lee, Saiki, Takai, and K-A accountable for organizing with the Repubs? January 17th, after their vote?

  5. Hawaiino:

    Forecasters comments regarding the progressive elements of the Dems that are also a part of Says majority brings to mind the sense of doom I felt when Blake left to work for the Gov. He’d been touted as a likely successor to Calvin and was widely respected. Losing him, coupled with the (almost) inexplicable choice by Herkes to run for Senate, and the odd timing of Changs retirement, seemed to suggest that Says end was expected, or inevitable.

  6. Teddy Freddy:

    Oops! Don’t go there Forecaster!! Our beloved Senator Daniel K. Inouye helped his good friend and Republican Stevens from Alaska and if you start enforcing the rules here you might have to speak to the senior senator third in line to the presidency and we all know the rules don’t apply to him.

  7. Elvis DiMaano:

    Mizuno is a policy lightweight. “Decades of leadership”? Looks like a political whore now.

  8. Hawaiino:

    Was at the the FHB Christmas gala tonight, suprisingly subdued. But, spoke with people familiar with the process who stated Souki played his hand too early and that the ball is in Calvin’s court. Sure hope so, we don’t need more placeholders ( Souki) and make weights (Mizuno). There are some good members of the dissident group, in terms of ability and/or character, but the group as a whole are not representing “the progressive movement”, as piped up by B Dame , Instead, they are representing a narrow interest group (I.e public employees)

  9. Bart Dame:

    Forecaster is extremely igorant of what goes on in the Democratic Party and my role in the various issues alluded to in his (her?) screed. Taking the points in order, I have never been a fan of the “Big Tent” metaphor for th Party. I believe we only need enough Democratic legislators to maintain a margin of control of the Legislature. By including too many politicians with minimal commitment to the Party platform, we have opened the doors to opportunists of all stripes. “Better fewer, but better Democrats,” is much closer to my view.

    We didn’t expel Gary Okino for “Republican-associated activities,” whatever the heck that means. Okino was expelled because he publicly the election of 20 Republican candidates and the defeat of their Democratic opponents. We have a rule which forbids Democratic Party members from “actively supporting” candidates of another party. In my view, it is too time-consuming to go after every violation, because we afford the accused a great deal of due process protections. But we have no choice but to go after the most egregious violations and Okino’s was too blatant, too massive to ignore. So he was expelled.

    As for the treatment of Laura Thielen, I was one of the most vocal and visible Democrats arguing she had a right to run as a Democrat and that the rules were being misapplied by those who opposed her. I also grumbled about the blatant conflicts of interest by some of those who voted against her. I led the effort within the party to amend the rules to decrease the odds of a similar miscarriage of justice against the next Laura Thielen.

    You use an odd formulation when you write ” we also tried to censure good-old Dem Donovan Dela Cruz.” What do you mean, “we,” paleface? A few Democrats filed a complaint against Dela Cruz. While I am not a fan of Dela Cruz, his policies or his legislative tactics, I disagreed with the complaint.I thought it was an overreach and that policy differences should be handled politically, not through a heavyhanded use of the Rules. I did not have a vote on the Dela Cruz complaint. But a strong majority of the Oahu County Committee disagreed with the complaint and threw it out. That this sequence of events is described as “the party” going after Dela Cruz has no relation to reality. A few activists did. Their argument was rejected by a much larger portion of the party.

    Nowhere in my statement did I say th pro-environment, pro-labor, etc., Democrats “solely aligned with Souki. My words are right there for anyone to reference. I said “the preponderance” of those who have voted pro-labor, pro-choice, pro-labor, etc., are in Souki’s camp rather than in Say’s. As someone who has worked for years to get the legislature to adopt party positions in these areas, I can assure you Say’s supporters are, generally, more conservative than Souki’s. There ARE some standout exceptions. Karl Rhoads is one of the clearest exceptions. Karl is staunchly pro-labor and liberal in each of those subject areas I have listed. He is a solid progressive. There are a few others. And there are a few aligned with Souki I would agree are conservative on many of these issues. But it is not the exceptions which define the general tendency. Those are the outliers.

    You do not tell us what point you intend by quoting Article I, Section 8 of our constitution. Clause 1) cannot be interpreted to apply to the House organization and there is NOTHING in the Constitution which forbids the reliance upon GOP votes in the leadership struggle either. So I do not get your point. WE have no means for holding Souki et al. accountable for aligning with the GOP House members as doing so does NOT violate our Rules.

    It is so hypocritical to blast Souki for winning support of the GOP when Speaker Say sought that same support. And got it in 2011 to force his fellow Democrats to capitulate. If anyone is aware of public statements made by Dante Carpenter or other top party leaders at that time criticizing Say for HIS reliance upon Republican support, please dust them off and present them. Say and some of his top supporters are desperate to hold onto power and are trying to use the Party as a tool in that campaign. It is in the Party’s interest to remain neutral. Individual Democrats are free to support whomever they want. But the Party itself must remain neutral.

    I don’t mind being called “black.” But why I am I a “pot”?

  10. Goober:

    Seems one wasted their two cents on a cheap shot.
    Pot calling the kettle black?

  11. Goober:

    “Elvis DiMaano:
    December 5th, 2012 at 10:39 pm
    Mizuno is a policy lightweight. “Decades of leadership”? Looks like a political (whore) now.”

    It seems double standards when it is good for some but not others in what one says in comments.

    Seems also that Bart Dame needs to brush up on common quotes knowledge on why what is what and called so and so.

  12. Jasmine Ramos:

    Elvis DiMaano does not know anything about the legislative arena. Rep. Mizuno won “Legislator of the Year in 2007, 2009, and 2010.” In fact, Rep. Mizuno wrote the bill to stop former Gov. Lingle from closing all Department of Human Services office in 2010 and secure a super majority from both the Senate and House to override Lingle’s veto and thus ensure essential health and human services to over 300,000 needy residents of Hawaii. Mizuno has used his personal money to help reunited a large number of homeless in Hawaii with their families back on the mainland and saved the Hawaii taxpayer millions of dollars in that effort. Mizuno lead silent marches at the capitol to fight against domestic violence and passed many bills relating to reducing human trafficking. Mizuno has dome more great policy changes and help more people than DiManno will ever imagine. That’s why DiManno is just a talker, with no proof of real life experience saving the lives of people in need. That’s why Mizuno is considered one of the top lawmakers in the state and that’s why Souki secured Mizuno, because he is a proven effective lawmakers which has made Hawaii and it’s people reside in a better and safer state.

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