Fred Rohlfing’s ‘Island Son’ Presents an Alternative View of Hawaii Politics

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BY DAWN SAKAMOTO – A fresh look at Hawai‘i politics, past and present, is the theme of Fred Rohlfing’s autobiography—Island Son: The Life and Times of Hawai‘i’s Republican Reformer, newly released by Legacy Isle Publishing.

In his 280-page memoir, the former state senator and long-time public servant provides an alternative view of life in Hawai‘i’s traditionally Democratic-controlled political arena.


Senator Rohlfing will be holding book signings at the following dates and locations:

Saturday, September 25, 11AM – Noon
Barnes & Noble, Kahala Mall
(808) 737-3323

Saturday, October 2, 1PM – 2PM
Borders, Maui Marketplace
(808) 877-6160

In Island Son, Rohlfing recounts his eight legislative victories and two narrow Congressional campaign losses and shares inside details of leasehold reform, early mass transit efforts and other political issues of the 1970s still relevant today. He is blunt in describing his battles for a more diversified GOP during the early statehood years and offers equally candid opinions on current political issues such as the Superferry, the Akaka Bill and education decentralization. An unabashed supporter of Republicans in today’s politics, Rohlfing still finds common ground with Democrats in efforts such as land reform leadership and issues such as collective bargaining for Honolulu’s nurses.
Karl Rove, former Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush, hails Island Son as “an energetic, engaging memoir. Naval officer, lawyer, public servant, elected leader, judge, Pacific diplomat; Rohlfing gives special attention to Hawai‘i’s early statehood years and present challenges. An entertaining and informative read.”

Born and raised in Mānoa Valley, Fred Rohlfing attended Punahou School, Yale University and George Washington University Law School. He currently resides in Kula, Maui, with his wife, Patty.

Island Son has been a work in progress for five years, begun as a way to share his boyhood years and family history with his grandchildren. During the writing process, Rohlfing realized “no one had written about the role of Hawai‘i Republicans in the post-statehood period, and so I began to revise the latter part of the book to present issues upon which Republicans could and should provide leadership for a better Hawai‘i future.”

A new imprint launched by Watermark Publishing of Honolulu, Legacy Isle (“Telling Hawai‘i’s Stories”) is dedicated to memoirs, corporate biographies and family histories—books and e-books created to share the personal stories of the people of the Islands.

Island Son: The Life and Times of Hawai‘i’s Republican Reformer is priced at $17.95 in softcover (ISBN 978-0-9844212-9-9) at bookstores and online booksellers, or direct from the publisher at

Contact Legacy Isle Publishing, 1088 Bishop St., Suite 310, Honolulu, HI 96813; (808) 587-7766; toll-free (866) 900-BOOK; fax (808) 521-3461;

Review copies, book cover and other images in electronic format are available by request.

Dawn T. Sakamoto is the Director of Sales & Marketing of Watermark Publishing