Rep Fukumoto at 2017 Womens March – State Representative Beth Fukumoto is exploring the possibility of switching from the Republican to the Democratic Party in Hawaii, after her stance on President Trump prompted her colleagues to elect her as their minority leader, a post she has held since her election in 2012.
Fukumoto said his Republican colleagues ousted him “because he participated in a women’s march against the Trump presidency,” reported Wayne Yoshioka of member station Hawaii Public Radio.
This is how Fukumoto described the situation in his speech to his colleagues:
“They told me that they would keep me in this position if I committed to not having a dispute with our president for the remainder of his term. Mr. Chairman, I was fired because I refused to make that commitment, because I believe that is our commitment to work as people. America and as a leader in this body to criticize power when power is wrong.”
When she appeared at the recent Women’s March event in Hawaii, Fukumoto spoke about how she had been booed and insulted at her party convention last summer for refusing to support Donald Trump’s candidacy because she “found his statements racist and sexist,” as she put it. last month.
“Everyone deserves respect,” Fukumoto said in a Facebook post about the event. “It has to be a non-partisan message.”
This week, state representative Bob McDermott, one of Fukumoto’s five Republican colleagues, criticized him in the House assembly, saying, “You are no longer speaking for yourself. This is a high-level responsibility. But if all you do is attack party alone and never” — at that point, McDermott was interrupted by the agency’s vice chairman, who urged him not to give negative motives to other members.
“I state the facts,” McDermott replied.
The ouster and possible departure of Fukumoto, 33, from the Republican Party came after he emerged as a rising star who could bring energy to his party, which has just six seats in the Hawaiian House of Representatives and none in its Senate.
The only Republican who chose to keep Fukumoto in his leadership role was Rep. Cynthia Thielen, who said on the House floor, “Oh my God, I’m sorry to lose our minority leader, someone I really respect – the face of Republicanism as it should have been, but never will be.”
Fukumoto says that because his district chose him as a Republican, he wants to respect their wishes—but he sent a letter to his constituents asking if he should swap allegiances.