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HOOSER: What do I want for Christmas?

Money, of course. Money for the houseless. Money for education. Money for I Ola Wailuanui. Money for community organizing. Money for hard core legislative advocacy work.

The list is long and the needs are great, but today I’m not asking for money.

Today my list includes 10 things more important than money, some of which are relatively easy to give and tangible (such as #3, #4, and #5) and some of which as individuals we may have little control over.

1. A happy and healthy family. This includes my incredibly awesome children and grandchildren, my ever-growing hanai ‘ohana, and our collective community;

2. State legislators and political leaders who will go the extra mile during the coming year. We need these individuals to pass into law and adopt the proposals put forth by the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct (CISC) and the Clean Elections Initiative (true publicly funded elections).

“An essential goal of the CISC was to provide recommendations that would help restore public trust in government…by recommending clear standards of conduct and enforcement of the law.” The CISC recommendations include term limits for state legislators, increased transparency for lobbyists, and stronger laws governing the abuse of public trust. See;

3. Citizens who know the name and contact information of their own district state representative and senator. Hint: You can find it at;

4. Citizens who take their civic duty seriously and who will send an individual email to their state legislator — to request, demand, encourage and insist they support the CISC recommendations and the Clean Elections Initiative;

5. Citizens who will email all state legislators the same message at and;

6. County Council members and mayors who realize that cesspool conversion to septic systems is just an expensive bandaid, and not the answer. The answer is public investment in new and expanded sewage treatment infrastructure;

7. A governor who realizes it’s best to withdraw a nomination rather than fight an entire community of people and organizations, who are deeply committed to protecting aloha ‘aina and who will go to the wall to do so;

8. U.S. senators and representatives who will not just “bring home the bacon” but also fight hard for expanded health care, abortion rights, carbon neutral energy independence, student loan forgiveness, the delisting of cannabis, and sensible gun control. We need federal representation also who stand united in demanding the prompt closure of Red Hill and the reclamation of Hawaiian lands now occupied by the military, but largely unused (or misused) — on every island;

9. A U.S. president who continues to hold the country together, protects the underserved, the fragile and the disenfranchised — and who realizes the path to peace must be paved with investments in education and health care — not in bombs, tanks, and troops;

10, People from all sides of the idealogical spectrum who will set aside their differences and unite under the mission of peace on earth and good will towards all people, regardless of economic status, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, citizen status, religion or political affiliation — all people.

Please consider sending out a list of your own to your friends, neighbors and networks. If we collectively commit to reaching out on a regular basis to our policy makers and political leaders, we can make those much needed changes that money alone can’t buy.

Let’s make sure the decision makers at the top of the political food chain know we are paying attention. Especially now during this time of holiday reflection, let’s remind them of our shared values, and that we are counting on them to do the right thing.

It takes just a few minutes. Please send out your own holiday “wish list” email today. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!


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.
Source: The Garden Island

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