Smart. Energetic. Powerful.

An article this week in Maui Time profiles Elmer Cravalho, the longtime Maui leader who died earlier this year.

But Maui Time believes it has something more to offer than “thin hagiography,” as was sometimes the case in the obits that followed.

With the help of freshly declassified documents from the FBI and U.S. Army obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, as well as other available sources, the piece reveals the “achievements and controversies – both of which were plentiful in his life.”

Here’s one excerpt, taken from a confidential 1959 Army intelligence summary on Cravalho:

“In December 1958, CRAVALHO was one of the so-called [Jack] “Burns/ILWU” faction of the Democratic Party of Hawaii who bolted the party caucus,” states the report. “CRAVALHO, together with 14 colleagues, rebelled when it became apparent to them that the majority group of O. Vincent Esposito intended to omit their faction, as well as the Republican minority, from important committee positions. As a result, CRAVALHO and [name redacted] negotiated with the Republican Party of Hawaii and formed a coalition out of which CRAVALHO emerged as Speaker of the House.”

It was a brazen, risky move. But it also worked. Cravalho would hold the speakership for eight years. His time in office bridged Hawaii’s transition to statehood–indeed, it was Cravalho who took the famous call from then-Representative Jack Burns in Washington on Aug. 21, 1959 and then announced to his House colleagues that Hawaii was now the 50th state in the union.

For anyone interested in Hawaii political history, the Maui Times pieces is a good read.

The current cover of Maui Time.

The current cover of Maui Time.

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