Verbatim: House Democrats ask Speaker Calvin Say for a change in leadership

Hawaii Independent Staff

In the following letter dated December 6 to State House Speaker Calvin Say, a group of 18 Democratic representatives call for a “leadership compromise” in order to embrace open and inclusive decision-making and address larger Hawaii issues in the coming 2011 Legislative Session.

Dear Speaker Say,

For five weeks, House Democrats have been at an impasse over who should lead the House of Representatives. You have represented your community for 34 years, and have served as Speaker longer than any Representative. We thank you for both your service and sacrifice throughout these decades.

However, Hawaii has entered a new era. The House of Representatives must be open to change.

Recently in the House there has been little collective discussion or planning to address our most pressing issues, not even a package of priority bills from our Democratic caucus. Improving public schools, reforming government, protecting our environment, and safeguarding civil rights are important to Hawaii’s future, yet many of these initiatives have been stalled or derailed.

Too often votes are traded for pet projects and positions without regard to a larger policy agenda.

Too often votes are traded for pet projects and positions without regard to a larger policy agenda. We believe that the challenges facing Hawaii are too great to continue this practice. Leadership must focus on resolving the larger challenges, and not just narrow issues that benefit only a few.

The House requires strong leadership that will be bold, will craft a democratic agenda, and will embrace open and inclusive decision-making. The House requires leadership that will work productively with the new Governor, Senate, and Congressional delegation. The House requires leadership that will restore public confidence in how we make decisions.

The 2011 Legislative Session will begin in five weeks and there is much to do. We respectfully request that you work with us to find a leadership compromise that will unify and rebuild our House. Only by working together can we move Hawaii forward and give everyone a better future.


Rep. Della Au Belatti
Rep. Tom Brower
Rep. Mele Carroll
Rep. Denny Coffman
Rep. Cindy Evans
Rep. Faye Hanohano
Rep. Gilbert Keith-Agaran
Rep. Chris Lee
Rep. Sylvia Luke
Rep. Dee Morikawa
Rep. Hermina Morita
Rep. Mark Nakashima
Rep. Scott Nishimoto
Rep. Scott Saiki
Rep. Maile Shimabukuro
Rep. K. Mark Takai
Rep. Roy Takumi
Rep. Jessica Wooley