Saturday, November 28, 2015         

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Democratic caucus members want Okino out

By B.J. Reyes


Members of two Democratic Party caucuses are calling on the state party to expel outgoing City Councilman Gary Okino for his support of Republican candidates in the upcoming elections.

Okino, who is running for the state House against Rep. Blake Oshiro (D, Aiea-Halawa), was notified last week that a formal complaint had been filed against him stemming from e-mails he sent that endorsed some GOP candidates.

Okino must face the party's Oahu County Committee to explain his actions. He could be reprimanded, censured or expelled from the party.

"We find Gary Okino's e-mail to be anti-American," said Ann Freed, of the Democratic Party's Women's Caucus.

"His recent e-mail diatribe, exhorting his 'brothers and sisters' to vote against a long list of good Democrats is proof in and of itself that he does not support the principles of our party, let alone the U.S. Constitution," she said.

The party's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus also called for his expulsion.

Okino said he would not blame the party for taking action to expel him, but he has stood by his decision to support "candidates who have the right intentions."

"I'm not going to back off on that because I think to make improvements to our system I'm going to have to find good candidates on both sides, in both parties and maybe even nonpartisans," he said last week.

In an e-mail last month, Okino sent out a list of endorsements to counter recommendations of the GLBT caucus. Okino endorsed Democrats and Republicans based on whether they are against abortion and civil unions, urging people to vote based on religion.

His endorsements included Cam Cavasso, a Republican, over U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii; U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, R-Hawaii, over state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa; and GOP state House candidate Julia Allen over House Speaker Calvin Say.

The party's constitution states any member could face disciplinary sanctions for publicly supporting candidates of another party.

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