Hawaii State Lawmaker Explains Why She Switched From the GOP to Democratic Party
Hawaii lawmaker Beth Fukumoto made headlines in March when she denounced the Trump Administration and resigned from her position as a Republican in the her state legislature’s House of Representatives. Three months later, Fukumoto is a proud Democrat — and she answered a few of our questions about her bold departure from the GOP.
“No matter how many walls are built and travel bans are enacted, America’s demographics will keep changing and the Republican party can’t keep marginalizing voices like mine and the people that care about what I’m saying.” Fukumoto in her wrote resignation letter.
In the letter, the 34-year-old state lawmaker asserted her refusal to ignore the sexist and racist rhetoric of a Republican President — and her willingness to swiftly exit a party that would.
The new Democratic representative for District 36 of Hawaii is of Japanese descent. She publicly recounted her grandfather’s detainment by the American government in World War II. Fukumoto recalled her family history while reciting a newspaper headline that read, “Trump Says He May Have Supported Japanese Internment” over a year ago.
Representative Fukumoto served her district at the Legislature as a Republican for four years. She also served as the House Minority Leader until 2017. Her political affiliation changed to Independent immediately following her resignation. On June 19, her request to join the Democratic Party was approved.
We reached out to Representative Beth Fukumoto with two questions. Here is what the ex-Republican legislator had to say:
Standard News: What initially drew you to the Republican Party?
Fukumoto: “I was initially drawn to the Republican Party because I felt that, in my state, the controlling party wasn’t doing enough to address the needs of working families and the middle class. I thought the Republican party had a chance to empower families that were being left behind by those in power at the Legislature. Once I was elected, I learned that there were people in the Democratic party in Hawaii that wanted to make the same changes that I was seeking. So, I started working with them to try to address the needs of Hawaii’s middle and lower income families.”
Standard News: How did the election of President Trump influence your choice to change political parties?
Fukumoto: “The election of President Trump certainly helped push me over the edge, but I had been increasingly wary of Republican rhetoric over the course of the last few years. I posted a resignation letter on Twitter that I think outlines my concerns with the party.”
The tweet (in other words, Fukumoto’s decision) was met with appreciation and hope by many Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans. Naturally, as per social media, the post attracted words of disapproval and resentment.
thank you for choosing country, respect, and dignity over party.
— Devon O’Hara (@DevonOhara) March 22, 2017
but you’re still a republican. You can’t just switch parties because the ship is sinking.
— Carolyn Ellis (@CarolynEllis5) March 23, 2017
From all proud Americans of all political parties, we salute you @bethfukumoto for your strength to do what’s right, under strong pressure!
— Monica Lewis (@HeyMonica1) March 23, 2017
— Steve Johnson (@stevejohnson563) March 23, 2017
.@bethfukumoto I’ve been waiting for some brave, principled members of the GOP to show their spines.Congratulations.The future is yours!
— Mary O’ (@moroPHX) March 23, 2017
Currently in the legislature, Beth Fukumoto is working on a resolution to help low-income families.