BY DANNY DE GRACIA II – Today and tomorrow are the last days to vote in the Oahu Neighborhood Board 2011 elections. If you haven’t already done so, please take this time to vote either by walk-in at Kapolei Hale/Honolulu Hale or by voting online using the unique PIN code which was mailed by the City and County to all registered voters during the first week of May.

Many people frustrated and grieved over the way things have become in recent years are anxiously waiting for November 2012 to have a chance to vote their feelings. Yet in this small community election for Neighborhood Board, we have the opportunity to use this May election as a powerful statement that if we can change a neighborhood, we can change our nation.

The first nation on Earth began with a small neighborhood of people who came together to protect each other’s families so that they could survive, thrive and make a name for themselves and not be scattered across the planet. Today, in this 2011 election, we have the opportunity to do the same and say with our votes that in Oahu’s neighborhoods, we will hold the line and stand for what matters most: our homes, our families, our future.

I made the decision to run for this year’s Waipahu Neighborhood Board at-large seat because I believe that the heart of Hawaii has always been our neighborhoods and that small things really do make a big difference. Even as things seem to be getting darker and darker with rising gas and food prices, a job market that leaves many under-compensated at best and indefinitely unemployed at worst, never underestimate the power of what a small victory can do to bring light to a troubled Hawaii.

If you ever get the chance to visit the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, you’ll find among the photos of men who died on Dec. 7th an Ensign Francis Flaherty who was in the gun turret of the USS Oklahoma when planes of the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked. Multiple hits from bombs knocked out the Oklahoma’s power and the ship began to flood and capsize, but Flaherty rather than abandoning ship reached for his flashlight, stood his post and died holding the light so that his crewmates would know the way to safety. That is precisely what every one of us seeking office – great or small – must purpose in their heart to do: stand our ground, hold the light and show the way out from this dark crisis we are in. The ship of state may not make it, but our families and neighborhood deserve a fighting chance to rebuild the future according to their needs and dreams.

Please tell your friends and families to vote for the 2011 Neighborhood Boards, and if you or anyone else you know lives in Waipahu, please forward this article to them by e-mail and tell them to vote for Danny deGracia for Waipahu Neighborhood Board.  This I promise: my flashlight of freedom will always be lit if elected.

God bless all of you and God bless a free, safe and happy Oahu!

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