Hawaii State Sen. Sam Slom, the only Republican in the 25-member chamber and one of only eight Republicans in the 76-member Hawaii Legislature, says he is celebrating Admissions Day Friday — even though few others bother to do so.

A press release from Slom’s office notes that the occasion “is often met with apathy, disinterest and even controversy.”

Instead, Slom thinks the 56th anniversary of statehood should encourage celebration “and reflection upon what was achieved by those who voted overwhelmingly in favor of statehood in 1959.”

Kanani (declined last name) holds signs and a Hawaiian flag with other demonstrators fronting the Hawaii Convention Center during IAU general assembly convention. 4 aug 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

A Hawaiian flag at a Mauna Kea demonstration fronting the Hawaii Convention Center earlier this month.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Statehood efforts, his office explains, have been documented as early as 1919, “when Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole introduced in Congress the first bill calling for Hawaii’s admission to the United States.”

 Slom states:

“When President Eisenhower signed the Admission Act into law in 1959, Hawaii’s people celebrated in the streets. We were united and proud to be American as well as Hawaiian. It was a major victory for those who spent years hoping for and working towards statehood. We were excited to be the 50th State. Hawaii has been a pace setter in many social, economic and cultural developments since then.

“Now, 56 years later, many of the gains that were achieved, and benefits enjoyed from statehood, are largely overlooked, taken for granted, or criticized. We should build on our statehood experience and make it better while recognizing the freedoms and many net contributions statehood has provided the majority of our citizens.”

Slom has represented Hawaii Kai since 1996.

Of note: Friday is a holiday for tens of thousands of state and county workers. Time to go shopping, hit the beach and enjoy those empty streets.

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