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This year’s Legislature adjourned with a lot of people wondering what really happened.
In a year when Republicans were championing some liberal issues — environmental protection and open government — Democrats claimed the turf usually staked out by conservatives — easing restrictions on development and promoting big projects.
No issue was more contentious than the effort to move ahead with an undersea power cable that would connect Oahu and the neighbor islands. People on Molokai and Lanai don’t want wind farms cluttering up their landscapes just so people on Oahu can run their air conditioning. That’s over simplified, but you get the point.
The bill was strongly supported by Gov. Neil Abercrombie and his energy experts who found a sympathetic ear in Democratic leadership. Republicans took the opposing position.
Thus it was in the waning days of the session that Molokai sent a small contingent to the state Capitol to plead with lawmakers to kill the cable bill, or at least let neighbor islands opt out.
They met with Senate Republicans and a few Democrats. They even met with Civil Beat.
Kanohowailuku Helm, president of I Aloha Molokai, has pulled papers to run against Sen. Kalani English, a Democrat. Helm listed himself as an independent with the state Elections Office.
Now they are hinting at a new, much broader political uprising that would unite what Helm calls “small d” Democrats with Republicans.
“Too many see the cable project as one big luau pig to be carved up and distributed to the loyal,” Helm says in a new video that sounds like a campaign spot. “Long as you invited, never matter who pay.”
Other groups who also felt shut out by Democratic leadership are talking about change at the ballot box, too.
Could tiny Molokai with the charismatic Helm at the helm be the one to unite the dissidents into a new political force?
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