I have been working in the political arena for over ten years. I started out working for Representative Roy Takumi who serves the Pearl City area here in Hawaii. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. At the time I just needed a job. I was hired to be the Committee Clerk for the now defunct Ocean Recreation & Marine Resources (OMR) Committee. I think that they hired me because I had a degree in marine biology. Whatever the reason, I can’t thank Rep.Takumi and his office manager Nancy enough for taking a chance on me. Taking that job was a pivotal moment in my life that gave me direction and lit my personal path that was, till then, very unclear. I loved the policy making of the legislature. I loved the hearings and being the person responsible for obtaining the legislators’ signatures on the Committee reports to submit with the bills. I would track them down, stalk them, bribe them and do just about anything to ensure that the paperwork was completed and filed in time for the bill to survive.
Working in Rep.Takumi’s office was a great place to get my feet wet in the realm of policy. He would always engage the office in discussions about what was going on at the Capitol at the time. And the subject matter of the OMR Committee that he chaired included shark finning and grandfathering docks in Kaneohe Bay. It was always interesting to me and I got to meet a lot of the players involved in Hawaii’s marine environment. I literally ran into the Representative at the Capitol last night. My son pulled the door open and Rep. Takumi was on the other side. It was really good to see him. He showed us his very environmentally friendly car and we chatted briefly. I hope to get the chance to have a longer conversation with him sooner rather than later.
Since my time at the Capitol I have worked for organizations that monitor, track and participate in the legislative process. I love a good policy discussion. If you want to talk about the merits of Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care Act, I am so there. Oftentimes though, discussions veer off the policy path onto the rocky and unpredictable road of politics. Sometimes when this happens, good policy doesn’t get passed and there are unexpected or unanticipated outcomes. It is the way it is. I am certain that this is probably the case throughout the nation as well as on the national level. As we speed towards the next presidential election, the politics is coming to the forefront. For me, the best offense against too much politics is to get out there and vote. Politics is what happens when people stop caring enough to go to the polls and cast their vote. Your vote is powerful. Mitt Romney won the Iowa caucus this week by 8 votes, 8 votes. Representative Takumi had more than one race that was very, very close as well. It can happen anywhere, Hawaii, Iowa. So especially if you are already suffering presidential election fatigue, make sure that you are registered so you can get yourself out there in November. Take an active role in YOUR government…..ahem…off my soapbox for now.