Ratifying a new, one page values oriented “platform” under the banner of LLIFE (Life, Limited Government, Individual Responsibility, Fiscal Accountability and Equality of Opportunity) was the center of the 2010 Hawaii Republican Party convention. GOP delegates, supporters and the faithful attended in droves (my estimate of about 400 attendees included more than 250 delegates from 51 house districts) to discuss and ratify the LLIFE “platform”, adopt several non-binding resolutions and listen to speeches by various GOP candidates including Lt. Governor James “Duke” Aiona (running for Governor), First Congressional district candidate Charles Djou, State Senator Sam Slom and Rep. Lynn Finnegan who is also running for Lt. Governor.

The convention also marked the last time that Governor Linda Lingle addressed the crowd as the state’s chief executive. Her speech focused on why Republicans say “no” to new taxes and bigger government while also addressing the future, young people and the new platform.

While the LLIFE platform was the main event of the convention, supporters and other attendees were somewhat unsure of whether or not the proposed document would pass. The Hawaii Republican Assembly (HAR) had proposed an alternate platform based on a concept of a “Contract With Hawaii” to members earlier in the week. It was presented as an amendment to the LLIFE platform by HAR chair, Paul Smith. The amendment was turned down by a floor vote after which the LLIFE platform was passed with an overwhelming but not unanimous majority of the delegates.

My take on the platform? LLIFE is a good start, kind of like the opening page to a bigger opus. It is not issues focused which is what members such as myself think the platform should contain. The Republican Party will offer an ongoing, issues database that is supposed to be periodically updated over the next 2 years. The 2010 LLIFE platform was voted for in whole to include the one page LLIFE document as well as the mostly unseen database portion, which is available online for just connected members to view with computers. I voted “no” because of this.

If anyone asked or wants to see what the Hawaii Republican Party’s stand on a specific issue like rail transit or the Akaka Bill is, those items and many others are not in the platform.

The HAR “Contract With Hawaii” addresses action points based on current issues including eliminating the general excise tax from food, residential rent and medical expenses; fiscal notes for all proposed state legislation; full disclosure of all campaign contributors and donors; tax equity; school vouchers; and a constitutional amendment for initiative, referendum and recall.

The Hawaii Republican Party LLIFE platform has been adopted by some of the candidates this year. Others have decided not to use it.

LLIFE or not, the bottom line for the Hawaii Republicans is to win elections. The party may have a good start if Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou actually beats the two Democrats in the upcoming special election. If he does, the victory will hopefully translate to Republican wins in other state and county races.

About the Photos: I shot more than 500 photos at the convention. The above gallery represent 20 of the best ones. More can be viewed on my Flickr page on the convention or though the linked Flickr slide show.

All photographs accompanying this article are Copyright 2010 to Melvin Ah Ching Productions and licensed to HawaiiReporter for their use.

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