BY RET. GEN. BOB LEE – In a recent media statement, the Democrat Party of Hawaii blasted Congressman Tom Cole of Oklahoma for visiting Hawaii to work with Governor Linda Lingle in her campaign for U.S. Senate. Unsurprisingly, this latest swing misses its mark.
Congressman Cole has been an outspoken proponent of the goals shared by the people of Hawaii, including growing our economy, supporting private sector job growth and aggressively working for federal support of native Hawaiian self-determination. As the only Native American (enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation) in the House of Representatives, Rep. Cole cares deeply about the unique needs of the native Hawaiian people and he has advocated tirelessly for the passage of legislation that would benefit our native Hawaiian community.
Despite this well-known fact, the state Democrat Party leadership released statements attacking Congressman Cole; statements which are surely an embarrassment to their own Democrat elected officials who have worked with and know the Congressman as a friend to Hawaii.
Then-Congressman Neil Abercrombie was quoted thanking Congressman Cole for his ‘ringing endorsement’ of the Akaka Bill.
Even Congresswoman Mazie Hirono once described Congressman Cole as a ‘long standing friend of Hawaii and native Hawaiians.’
Other leaders have recognized Cong. Cole on his efforts for Native Hawaiian recognition, including Haunani Apoliona, former OHA Chair, who stated, ‘I want to thank Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole…(his work) was significant and very much appreciated.’
And, the media have taken note of Congressman Cole’s work, including TIME Magazine who called him ‘one of the sharpest minds in the House.’
By now, the people of Hawaii have come to expect Mazie and the state Party to put their partisan politics before the people of Hawaii. They showed this in their attacks on the leader of the Senate’s Travel & Tourism Caucus and again by attacking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which supports small businesses in our state.
And now, Mazie – with an eye only to her own political gain – is again allowing her state party operatives to falsely attack her colleague and someone who she knows well as a friend of Hawaii.
These outrageous statements demonstrate that the Democrat Party and Mazie herself do not understand, or care about what matters most to the people of Hawaii. Through her constant vitriol on elected leaders who work for the benefit of all the people of our state and country, Mazie has proven that we simply can’t trust her judgment. Unlike Mazie and her partisan hacks, Gov. Lingle’s primary concern is for the people of Hawaii and what is best for their future.
Bob Lee is the campaign manager for the Linda Lingle Senate Committee