Believe it or not, it’s time for those new candidates considering a run for office in 2024 to, well, get running. The August 2024 primary election is only 17 months or so away, and anyone serious about winning best be getting real, very soon.
Elections are won and lost based primarily on name recognition, or the lack thereof. For new candidates, building positive name recognition requires both money and work.
A new candidate can win purely on their willingness to do the work — knocking on doors, attending community events, participating in community work days, telephone calling, and ultimately rising early every morning to hold signs on the highway.
Yes, it takes a certain amount of money for signs, brochures and basic media, but on-the-ground campaigning is what it takes to win.
Building the team, analyzing the district, formulating the plan, fundraising, and embarking down the path of this 17-month marathon, must start now for new candidates who are serious about winning.
Having served in elective office at both the county council level and in the Hawai‘i state Senate, I can say without any reservation whatsoever — the experience was immensely gratifying.
Some will say it’s a thankless job, but for me, I did not find this to be the case. The love, and the overall positives, far outweighed the negatives.
We need new candidates, new energy, new perspectives and new ideas at all levels.
The status quo is not sustainable. And in my opinion, a majority of those now holding public office believe it’s their job to resist change and maintain the status-quo.
To be clear, there are many in public office who feel the same urgency that many of us do. They understand that sea levels are rising and climate change is real. They see also the enormous and ever-growing disparity between the very rich and everyone else.
But, unfortunately, they are in the minority, and thus not able to swing the votes needed to make meaningful change happen.
The needs are great and the threats are real. Settling for the same good ole boy business as usual, status quo as usual, is not working.
To win, we need good people at all levels to step up and engage the civic and electoral process. There are many important opportunities to serve.
Whether it’s sitting as a volunteer on a state and county board or commission, working with a nonprofit advocacy group or labor union, or serving on the ground as a community organizer, all are important.
Holding elective office puts you at the table where votes are cast that change people’s lives for the better, or for the worse.
We need more good candidates, and every one of those candidates needs a campaign manager, a treasurer, and solid boots on the ground. Every elected official needs strong staff support, and they need a community that shows up and backs them up.
There are many roles to fill, and now is the time to start filling them.
If you want to be a candidate and be elected to public office, now is the time to put together your team.
If running for office is not your cup of tea, then seek out candidates who share your values and feel the same urgency and need for change, and join their team. Show up. Testify. Be part of the solution. Make the calls and send the emails. Help make our world a better place.
There’s much to be done and it will take all of us to get there.
Gary Hooser is the former vice-chair of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, and served eight years in the state Senate, where he was majority leader. He also served for eight years on the Kaua‘i County Council, and was the former director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. He serves in a volunteer capacity as board president of the Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action and is executive director of the Pono Hawai‘i Initiative.
Source: The Garden Island