Thanks to the generosity of one of our Executive Committee members, the entire Hawaii Federation of Republican Women Executive Committee and several invited guests were able to attend the GOP Lincoln Day Dinner at the Kooalau Ball Room on February 17th.
Almost all the elected and former GOP leadership was in attendance. Mike Buck was MC and former Lt. Governor James Duke Aiona lead the audience in the opening invocation. The strong clear voice of Rep. Andria Tupola lead in the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and Hawaii Ponoi.
But the highlight of the evening was the message by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. As the only Governor in US history to be elected 3 times in 4 years to the same office (his first gubernatorial election, his recall election in 2012 and his recent reelection to the governorship) he has an amazing and inspiring story of perverseness, commitment and success.
Governor Walker is still dogged by union activist (as our own local UPW had a good sized group in protest along Kam Hwy.), but his story is strictly pro-worker and pro-prosperity, so much so, it has turned a formerly very blue state into a GOP powerhouse.
The methods Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP leadership chose to work with was simple.
He centered his first gubernatorial campaign on 2 important issues which affected all the people of his state, and when elected, he followed through on fixing the issues he promised to solve.
Governor Walkers signed into law the bill making Wisconsin a Right to Work State. This was one of the key elements he had to tackle to solve his state’s structural fiscal problem. Doing this caused a hurricane of protest and he rode the whirlwind, culminating in a Union/Democrat party alliance to get him booted from office via the 2012 Recall Election.
(This lead to his resounding victory in election 2 in his 3 gubernatorial campaigns, but that’s getting ahead of the story.)
In spite of enormous pressure ( 5000 protesters in front of his house, 150,000+ at the state capitol and death threats against him and his family) he persevered, and his policies resulted in pulling Wisconsin out of a deep budget deficit into a budget surplus.
He has used that money to make sure Wisconsin has a fully financed government employee pension fund.
He has returned more money and control to community school boards (resulting in even higher student SAT scores for a state already near the top).
He made a point of basing his reform plans on feedback he received from the people of Wisconsin as to what they wanted their government to do.
If one word could sums up Governor Walker’s approach it would be Courage.
Courage to take on Unions, that in the end, gave hard working union members more say in their employment.
Right to Work laws made the collection of union dues an option and not a necessity for employment (when the government workers of Wisconsin were given the option of not being forced to pay dues they opted out by 50-70%).
That extra money and economic activity goes to funding salaries and pensions and puts more money into the pockets of workers and their families.
Governor Walker presented a clear road-map for Hawaii in dealing with our own union issues and how to get more money and power back into the hands and pockets of every worker in our beautiful state.
We need bold leadership and a clear vision, along with men and women of Courage and Perseverance who are ready to vote and run for office to help bring 21st century success and prosperity to all of Hawaii’s people
Kudos to GOP Chairmen Fritz Rohlfing for bringing in Governor Walker for the GOP Lincoln Day Dinner.