Hawaii Republican says 'aloha' to party
HONOLULU: Hawaii lawmaker Beth Fukumoto, ousted last month as Republican leader of the state's House of Representatives after publicly criticising President Donald Trump, resigned from her party to seek membership as a Democrat.
Ms Fukumoto, 33, the youngest Hawaii legislator to serve as the state's House minority leader, said divisive campaign rhetoric during the 2016 elections convinced her the Republican Party no longer reflected her political values or the interests of her state's diverse population.
"This election, I saw members of my party marginalising and condemning minorities, ethnic or otherwise, and making demeaning comments towards women," she said in an open letter of resignation to the Republican Party.
Ms Fukumoto, who is of mixed Japanese and Irish ancestry, said she found Mr Trump's comments about banning Muslim immigrants and the possibility of establishing a registry of Muslim-Americans to be especially troubling.
"I wanted very badly to see the Republican Party denounce his comments, and that didn't happen," she told Reuters, saying a Muslim registry struck her as "one step away" from internment camps.
"That for me was the issue that really changed how I felt."
A self-described political moderate, Ms Fukumoto was the first Republican in 26 years to represent the largely middle-class central Oahu district outside Honolulu, capital of the predominantly Democratic state. - REUTERS