Gabbard Switches Parties To Better Serve Constituents

HONOLULU -August 30, 2007- Republican State Senator Mike Gabbard, (Waikele to Ko Olina) announced his decision today to join the Democratic Party at the party’s new headquarters in Ward Warehouse.

“I made this decision after a great deal of thought and soul searching,” said Gabbard, “and after many, many discussions with my daughter Tulsi, a former state representative and a card-carrying Democrat who works for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka. It was also talking story with Senator Akaka, Congressman Abercrombie, and other Democrats in leadership, as well as my constituents—Democrat, Republican, and Independents—that helped me make this decision. In the past few months, I’ve come to know and respect Senator Akaka and I’ve been greatly influenced by the aloha and welcoming attitude that he and others have extended to me.”

Gabbard said, “While working together with my colleagues and constituents, we’ve been able to accomplish many things. However, my experience at the legislature has convinced me that to be even more effective, it would be best if I were a member of the majority Democratic Party.”

“Some people have told me that my move could damage me politically,” Gabbard commented. “But I can’t make my decision based on politics. I have to make my decisions based on my conscience, on how I can best serve the people of Hawaii. I’m not a very partisan person, that’s actually why I have a lot of supporters. I’ve been an independent-minded Republican who always follows the dictates of my conscience, not the party line. And I will be just as independent as a Democrat.”

Here are a couple common questions I've received regarding my switch and the answers:

Q: How can you be a social conservative on issues like same-sex marriage and be a Democrat?

A: I'm perfectly in line with the majority of Democrats on this issue. During the same-sex marriage debate, 70% of Hawaii voters agreed with me and voted to protect traditional marriage. The vast majority of those people were Democrats. And on the grassroots level, I have tons of Democrats thanking me for my role in protecting traditional marriage, much more than Republicans.

Q: How can you switch to the Democratic Party when you don't agree 100% with the Party's Platform?

A: If everybody who didn't believe in the Party Platform left the Democratic Party, the Party would consist of a couple thousand people at most.