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One of my heroes, Ernest “Juggie” Heen, would talk about how there are two ways to do politics: money and people. People can be the great counterbalance against the power of money, he believed; I agree. As I’ve gone door-to-door over the last nine months I’ve met scores of individuals who are passionate about their community. Democracy isn’t just about representation – it’s about the community being able to deal directly with its concerns, and to grow its own leadership to do just that. I’m writing today to propose a new organizing strategy in which our dedicated campaign volunteers and organizers are turned towards the needs of the community itself. My campaign will use a community-building strategy to fix and find solutions for the problems faced by our district and our island.
My proposed strategy is “lima”, which is a word used throughout the Pacific for ‘five’ and for ‘hand.’ Hold up your thumb – that’s you. Now raise the other four fingers on your hand – that’s the community that can carry out a project and accomplish it. In my thinking, “lima” is a philosophy and approach to community-building and empowerment that says that “we can do it!” “Hiki no!”. So long as we work together, as neighbors and fellow islanders.
There are many problems which I believe we can work on together in this manner. We can work with our neighbors to advocate for safer streets; we can develop information tools to connect people who have extra parking with those who need it; we can organize community movie nights in our underutilized parks; we can even fulfill basic services such as child and elder care. The underlying principle, I believe, should be an attention to the common good of our community.