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Death with dignity deemed priority issue for Hawaii state democrats

Death with dignity deemed priority issue for Hawaii state democrats ( HONOLULU, HI - The Hawai`i Death With Dignity Society is pleased to announce that the 50,000-member Democratic Party of Hawai`i (DPH) has made the Death With Dignity legislation now before the State Legislature a “priority" issue. Scott Foster, Communications Director for the Hawai`i Death With Dignity Society said, “DPH Chair Dante Carpenter has informed us that because the Party's resolution supporting Death With Dignity had received such overwhelming support, including a standing ovation when it passed the May, 2010, State Convention, Senate Bill 803 is deemed 'a priority issue.'"

The DPH joins other significant political organizations who have officially weighed in to support the legislation including: Americans For Democratic Action, Hawai`i Advocates For Consumer Rights, Hawai`i Friends of Civil Rights, Hawai`i Independent Democrats, the Hawai'i Women's Political Caucus, and the Kokua Council of Seniors, the state's oldest organization of seniors.

Foster noted, “This legislation is dedicated to the memory of Ah Quon McElrath — who died in the very circumstances she fought so hard against; connected to machines and tubes."

Foster, a life-long Democrat and Convention Delegate observed, “For many years, there has been somewhat of a disconnect between the Democratic Party and the elected officials who win office using the Party banner. The privilege of using the Party 'D' once came with certain obligations. As the dominant political force in Hawai`i, many Democrats believe that the considerable energies and resources of the Democratic Party of Hawai`i should be as focused upon passing progressive legislation that benefits the entire community as they are on electing Democrats to office. This was the original covenant, long broken."

Foster believes, “The big change occurred when Democratic Party ranks swelled with new, younger members during the Presidential Campaign for Barack Obama in 2008, and the effect is only now being noticed. I think it's safe to say that the Democratic Party of Hawai`i's recent sanction and removal of Gary Okino, similar complaints filed against other elected Democrats, and the previously-unheard-of opposition that Representative Calvin Say encountered this year in his bid to retain the House Speaker position, all suggest that change is in the air.

“Democrats, especially new, younger Democrats, are weary of the failure of elected officials to directly confront Hawaii's many problems and intend to do something about it. As with Civil Unions, the new Democrats want 'no-brainer' legislation such as the Hawai`i Death With Dignity bill passed so we can get on with dealing with our economic crisis, creating jobs that add to Hawai`i's GSP, and moving us closer to renewable energy and agricultural self-sufficiency - while protecting Hawaii's fragile environment. People are frightened and they are angry. I suggest that elected officials and business leaders who ignore this new political reality do so at their own peril."

MEDIA CONTACT: Scott Foster, Communications Director, Hawai`i Death With Dignity Society, Phone: 808-988-0555, Email:

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