Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Monday, August 14, 2000

Democratic Convention logo

Isle delegates’
role on political

Officials pay little attention
to a state assumed locked up,
says U.S. Rep. Mink

Party faithful smitten by celebrity

By Richard Borreca

LOS ANGELES -- Hawaii's 33 delegates to the Democratic National Convention rolled into Los Angeles to spend the first night hopping from political meetings featuring President Bill Clinton to nightclubs with former "NYPD" star Jimmy Smits.

The convention starts today with Hawaii's Democrats worried that because the state holds only four electoral votes and has only twice voted for a Republican presidential candidate, it will be ignored in the national political scene.

While Hawaii's leading Democrats will play a part on the national stage, with U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye scheduled to address the convention tomorrow afternoon and Gov. Ben Cayetano expected to be honored with a reception at his alma mater, the University of California at Los Angeles, delegates still recognize that Hawaii is out of the political mainstream.

U.S. Rep Patsy Mink said national officials "assume Hawaii will go for Gore, so we are at a disadvantage for help that would be critical for Hawaii."

Convention delegate Linda Rosehill added that the party has a difficult time attracting national candidates to even come to Hawaii during the presidential campaign.

"Frankly, it doesn't make political sense to spend time in Hawaii with only four electoral votes, and it takes all day to travel to Hawaii," said Rosehill, a consultant.

If the national spotlight casts only a dim glow toward Hawaii, the delegates yesterday were still happy to soak up what rays they could.

Jake Manegdeg, a former state House member who has been Oahu Democratic Party treasurer for 32 years, was glad to find a Filipino-American caucus to attend, so he could learn more about getting Filipinos elected.

"We have a lot of Filipino Democrats, but we are not organized like in California," he said.

The convention has a star-struck celebrity atmosphere that even touched Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono. She attended the American Israel Public Affairs Committee reception, featuring President Clinton and the first lady.

After Clinton spoke, he shook hands with well-wishers, and the usually unflappable Hirono was amazed that Clinton went up to her, saying, "Mazie, it is so good you could be here."

As far as real political excitement, the Democrats appear to be just as well scripted as the GOP was two weeks ago.

The official line call for today was to feature talks about "peace and prosperity" to highlight the country's economy and claim it as a Democratic success.

Wednesday is devoted to considering Vice President Gore as "the principled fighter," with Thursday the day Gore makes his speech accepting the Democratic nomination. The advance script calls for him to show how he "will fight for the people, not the powerful, to improve the lives of America's working families."

Party faithful smitten by Hispanic celebrity

Star-Bulletin staff

LOS ANGELES -- The first movie star sighting for Hawaii delegates was at the Conga Room, a Los Angeles salsa club, where delegates giggled and beamed to get their picture taken with Jimmy Smits, star of "L.A. Law" and "NYPD Blue."

Smits, an active Democrat who is scheduled to address the convention later this week, is co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation of the Arts in Washington, D.C.

Smits is also co-owner of the Conga Room, which was the site of last night's party honoring the Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands delegations.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin