COURTESY OF THE ROHLFING FAMILY
Seen in December 2006 are three generations of the Rohlfing family with Markus Rohlfing, left; Markus' father, Frederick "Fritz" Rohlfing III; Fritz's own father, former state Sen. Frederick Rohlfing Jr.; and Fritz's older son, Frederick Rohlfing IV.
Rohlfings lend support to isle Republican politics
Though he's never run for state, county or city public office, Frederick W. "Fritz" Rohlfing III is no stranger to politics.
The son of a state senator, Rohlfing got his first up-close-and-personal view of politics in 1972, as a page at the Republican National Convention.
"It was a little overwhelming," he said. "This was the first time I'd seen the Secret Service in full force with transmitters in their ears and their dark suits and the serious looks on their faces.
"At the same time, you had all of these delegates throughout the floor for a convention who were basically kind of in a festive mood."
Earlier this month, he returned to the convention scene, but this time as a state delegate from Hawaii to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.
Whether he actually runs for office is another matter. Rohlfing, an attorney with the firm Case Lombardi & Pettit in Honolulu, says he hasn't ruled out a run at public office, but for the time being he has other commitments, mainly his family.
If the Rohlfing name sounds familiar, it should. Fritz's father, Fred Rohlfing Jr., is a former Republican state senator and Maui corporation counsel who also served as a part-time U.S. magistrate on the Valley Isle.
The elder Rohlfing hasn't slowed down in his post-public life. Last week, he was completing a two-week trip to Alaska.
"He may be on top of Mount McKinley and out of cell-phone range," his son said.
The family has been a mainstay in local Republican politics since the '70s, when Rohlfing Jr. served in the state Senate.
Back then, Rohlfing's legislative aide was Barbara Marumoto, today the longtime Republican state representative for the Kalani Valley-Diamond Head House District.
Marumoto also was a delegate to this year's convention in St. Paul, where she was with Fritz Rohlfing on the floor as the delegates completed the work of nominating John McCain and Sarah Palin as the party's presidential ticket.
"They're very much alike," Marumoto said. "They're very intelligent, very much interested in government."
It may be just a matter of time before Rohlfing throws his hat in the political arena.
"I've been encouraging him to run for quite some time," Marumoto said. "I think he'd be excellent. He's very, very smart. He's born and raised in Hawaii. He's a family man and a good attorney.
"He's eminently qualified."
Fritz Rohlfing's pedigree would certainly suit him for making a run at office.
"I guess I barely had begun to walk and my dad was running for the state Legislature in 1959," he said. "He was in politics throughout my entire childhood growing up here.
"By the time I became a teenager, I would walk door to door with him, both when he was running for the state Senate and then when he ran for Congress in 1972 and again in 1976, so that was an unforgettable experience."
Family has been one main factor in his hesitance to run. He and his wife have four children: Renate, 24; Frederick, 21; Markus, 18; and Marissa, 15.
If not him, political office might be in the future for the next generation of Rohlfings.
"My youngest has run for office in her school, so she may be a sleeper on political involvement," he said. "The best I can do is just make sure they're informed and encourage them."