GARY T. KUBOTA / GKUBOTA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Chelsea Clinton was on Maui yesterday to attend a rally to support the bid of her mother, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in the Democratic presidential caucuses tomorrow.
Chelsea Clinton courts Maui votes
WAILUKU » Chelsea Clinton told an enthusiastic crowd on Maui that she was grateful for the strong showing of support for her mother, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and urged Democrats to vote for her in tomorrow's caucuses.
"I believe in my mom because she is ... the best mother a daughter could imagine," she said. "It's so encouraging to see so many of you, because Hawaii is so important on Tuesday."
As first lady in the early 1990s, Hillary Clinton supported improvements in rural health care and visited rural Hawaii areas, including Hana in East Maui.
Chelsea Clinton arrived on Maui at about 11:15 a.m. yesterday and visited the Maui Mall, where she had a cup of coffee and Tasaka's Guri Guri ice cream.
She later attended a political rally at the David Trask Jr. Building in Wailuku in front of a crowd of about 200 people.
During the rally, Clinton and other Democratic officials were called up on stage to dance with a hula group.
"I'm sorry if I embarrassed you with my hula. I didn't come prepared. Next time I'll study up and be ready," she said.
Clinton, who did not field questions from the news media, planned to do some sightseeing and visit Hookipa Beach Park on Maui's North Shore, a popular surfing and windsurfing site.
"I think it's an amazing showing of support," said state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa (D, Waianae), who attended the event.
"They don't forget what the Clintons have done."
Supporters pointed out that as a U.S. senator, Hillary Clinton has backed the Akaka Bill, helped in the creation of a children's health insurance program and assisted in passing legislation to increase the maximum Pell Grant for college students to $5,400 over the next five years.
State Sen. Rosalyn Baker (D, South and West Maui) said she thought the turnout was great, and was pleased with the diversity of people, including residents from Lahaina who had driven a long distance.
State Sen. Shan Tsutsui (D, Central Maui) said the race for the Democratic nomination for president is close and places Hawaii in an important role.
"Every delegate counts at this point," he said.
State Sen. Kalani English (D, Hana-Upcountry Maui-Molokai-Lanai-Kahoolawe) said he felt voters should support a Democrat and that there was a great pool of Democratic presidential candidates.
Clinton rounded out her weekend in Hawaii by thanking volunteers at Ryan's Grill at Ward Centre on Oahu, where more than 100 people, including U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, crowded into the room.
"I had the most extraordinary time here in Hawaii, meeting people who support my mom, meeting Democrats who are so passionate about the issues my mom has worked on her entire life," Clinton said before leaving for the airport to board a plane to Wisconsin to join her mother.
"I have a good feeling about Hawaii," she said.
Star-Bulletin reporter Laurie Au contributed to this report.