Hawaii GOP: Fukumoto should have given up seat
"The issues that I've had with the Republican Party are well-documented and to reiterate them now would be adding fuel to a fire that doesn't need to keep burning", said Fukumoto, the former state House Minority Leader.
Fukumoto explained that she "did everything [she] could think of to fight for a better Republican Party", including speaking out against Trump.
A Hawaii lawmaker has chosen to leave the Republican Party and is seeking membership in the Democratic Party.
"As a Japanese-American whose grandparents had to destroy all of their Japanese artifacts and items and bury them in the backyard to avoid getting taken and interned, how could I not have said anything?"
Rep. Beth Fukumoto said members of the GOP refused to oppose racism and sexism including a suggestion by Trump to create a Muslim registry during his campaign.
Republican Party Chairman Fritz Rohlfing at the time urged her to remain in the party but said that she should resign her elected position if she did decide to switch parties just months after being re-elected, something Fukumoto said she would not do today.
In February, Fukumoto said she was removed as House minority leader and replaced by Rep. Andria Tupola after being asked to stop criticizing the president.
"The decisions seemed like they were always made by an old boys club behind a closed door, and that the Democrats with control, didn't seem concerned with Hawaiʻi's high cost of living, growing income inequality, a lack of high-wage jobs or our housing crisis", she said.
Fukumoto voted against same-sex marriage when it came before the Legislature in 2013. "I think there's a much better opportunity that if I disagree with what the Republican Party is doing, to be able to work productively as a Democrat to offer a different solution, so that's what I'm announcing today".
Calling the GOP a "failing party", Fukumoto told KHON 2, "I want to be productive". She claims what she found was Republican partisanship and that she was wrong to think that her will to change a "failing party" would succeed. "Going forward, I believe that Rep. Fukumoto will continue to ably serve her constituents and the State of Hawai'i with great respect and independent thinking".
"As a fellow member of the Democratic Party, I welcome Rep.Beth Fukumoto with open arms, as I would any other individual committed to sharing the same values and philosophies that the party upholds. Those that consider my voting record will find that it aligns more closely with the Democratic Party platform than the records of some elected Democrats", she said. If you followed what happened at the state convention (in May 2016), I got booed for about 10 minutes straight for raising concerns about President Trump, then nominee Trump, and the way he treated women and minorities in many of his remarks. "It was my fight and I had to fight it regardless of the consequences", she said. She sought feedback from her constituents before resigning from the GOP.
"After serving at the State Capitol, I discovered that it wasn't just me and my Republican friends trying to change the status quo".
Vandeveer says the Democratic Party will give Fukumoto a fair shake.