Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Journalism's Future ... Now

The Mānoa Mirror

Hawaii Republicans face an uphill battle in state legislature

State House Republicans hold a small minority, making it nearly impossible to pass conservative legislation without Democratic support.
Grant Nakasone
The State Capitol formally opened for legislative business on Opening Day.

The Hawaiʻi House Republican caucus entered the 2024 legislative session with a small minority, making conservative legislative priorities extremely difficult to pass.

With six elected Republican members out of the 51 seats in the Hawai’i House of Representatives, Democrats maintain another year of a supermajority in the chamber.

This situation for Minority Leader Rep. Lauren Matsumoto is especially problematic in an election year.

Regardless of the balance of power, House Republicans’ 2024 top priorities include HECO accountability, eliminating taxes on groceries and medications, the cost of living crisis, and election integrity.

“Hawaii has a big election issue. For one, the U.S. citizen verification process is so lax. There’s no efficiency in our elections, and that’s definitely troubling,” Matsumoto said, during a town hall meeting with local Republican voters.

But, with such a small minority, Matsumoto can’t pass any conservative legislation without overwhelming Democratic support. Therefore, she often acknowledges the need for bipartisanship and avoids partisan fights.

“We have to recognize that no one party is good or bad and that problems definitely exist in both,” Matsumoto said during the town hall.

Ginger Kubota, a Republican voter from Matsumoto’s Mililani district, said she supports the House Minority Leader’s efforts to push through conservative bills. Nonetheless, she can’t help but feel disappointed when it has no chance of passing.

“In many ways, I don’t blame the House Republicans because it’s not entirely their fault. But as a very long-time Republican voter who’s wanted to see hard conservative legislation, how can I not be frustrated and angry over the party’s capability, or lack thereof, to really get anything done,” Kubota said.

In an election year for some state legislators, political observers are looking at how disappointment and dissatisfaction among Hawai’i Republican voters could affect the electorate in November.

Grant Nakasone is a sophomore, second-year journalism major at UH Mānoa and is primarily interested in web and broadcast journalism with a focus in politics.

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About the Contributor
Grant Nakasone
Grant Nakasone, Contributor
Hi everyone! My name is Grant Nakasone, and I'm a sophomore journalism major at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. I was born and raised on Oahu, having grown up in Wahiawa but attending school in neighboring Mililani, where I graduated from Mililani High School in 2022. My interest and eventual passion for journalism sparked in the latter years of high school after taking numerous media and expository writing courses, while also developing a particular interest in local, national, and global politics. That passion has only been enhanced and inflamed throughout my relatively short time in the journalism program at UH. I believe that as journalism students and aspiring professional journalists, we all have an obligation and commitment to the pursuit and proliferation of the truth. With the very definition of truth becoming so convoluted and lost over the past years, the responsibility to recenter and refocus the perception and interpretation of it, rests on our shoulders. Although I'm aware that many challenges lie ahead, I hope to earn a professional career in broadcast journalism in Hawai'i, allowing me to work directly with the unique and special community that did so well to raise me, my family, my friends, and everyone else in the state of Hawai'i.

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