January 9's third Biennial Hawaii Alliance Convention was a success. Ninety delegates and guests attended.
On the political front, Mufi Hannemann - Mayor of Honolulu - spoke to the convention at length about Hawaii senior community issues. U.S. Senator Inouye introduced his wife and expressed his endorsement of State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa for election to the Congress. Congressman Abercrombie also addressed delegates on his congressional activities.
ARA Regional Board member Luis Duran, from California, represented the national Alliance and spoke with the delegation about various issues including health insurance reform.
Hawaii Alliance President Al Hamai said, "Hawaii has one of the best congressional delegations in the country. All of our four - U.S. Senators Inouye and Akaka and Congressmen Abercrombie and
Hirono - have ARA voting records of 90% plus. They are very accessible. We thank our congressional delegation for their outstanding service to seniors and our community."
The convention adopted three resolutions:
One - Honoring the late Ah Quon McElrath, who attended two previous Alliance conventions, as a delegate from the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU), for her lifetime of service to working people of Hawaii and her commitment for economic and social justice;
Two - Supporting the Pacific Beach Hotel Workers and the Employee Free Choice Act;
Three - Supporting a one percent increase in the general excise tax, from the current 4.5% to 5.5% to raise state revenues to close the state budget deficit, rather than have more cuts in the essential state services, including senior services and programs. (This resolution was preceded by an hour education session, small break-out groups and debate.)