Hawai`i's presidential caucus is just two days away, and Barack Obama's sister Maya Soetoro-Ng is drawing big crowds as she island hops in support of her brother's campaign.
This is the first time Hawai`i's caucus will actually play a role in choosing the Democratic Party's nominee. And it's the first time a Hawai`i native has run for President. So, the enthusiasm for Barack's campaign that's been seen in so many places on the Mainland is especially strong here. Maya has proven to be an excellent spokesperson for the campaign, and her well-received appearances on Kaua`i, Maui, and O`ahu are helping to fuel predictions for a record turnout on Tuesday night.
Yesterday, I had the honor of hearing Maya speak for the second time. Some notes about her talk and links to video and news reports follow below.
Maya on Maui, Feb. 16, 2008 (photo by Sara Kimura).
First, with time getting short, please let me note that the campaign needs volunteers as we charge toward the evening of Feb. 19. One fun and easy way to help is to call people in Hawai`i:
You can also check out the local campaign website.
Also, I should point out the big local news of the day: The Honolulu Advertiser has endorsed Barack.
Dano Sayles, Maya Soetoro-Ng, and Patricia Jones-Blessman on Maui, Feb. 16, 2008 (photo by Jan Welda Fleetham).
I first met Maya last year during her first round of campaigning, when she talked about the campaign in inspiring but broad terms. Yesterday, she delved into the specifics of many substantive issues, explaining her brother's position on issues ranging from energy policy to healthcare to education to foreign policy. She made it clear he'll fight for environmental protection; vastly improved access to medical insurance, preventative medicine, early childhood education, and higher education; and a more respectful, collaborative America on the international scene.
She stressed that Barack's values are Hawaiian values, as reported by The Maui News.
“I want to emphasize my brother loves these islands. He loves these islands with every fiber of his being,” Soetoro-Ng told the crowd.Here's a video of one of Maya's appearances on Maui yesterday:
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“His ability to build bridges between worlds was built in these islands. . . .”
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Soetoro-Ng also shared how Obama took care of her after the deaths of her parents.
She said her brother taught her poetry and philosophy and the first book he gave her was by award-winning African American author Toni Morrison, who has since endorsed Obama.
Her humor, intelligence, compassion, and commitment to her brother are all evident.
And here are links to news coverage about her campaign work across the state:
“He will create a culture of sustainability,” Soetoro-Ng said. “He continues to learn and listen to those who have worked the hardest and longest as environmental activists.”
“Although my brother is American, he does have Kenyan blood, and Kenyans always win the marathon,” Soetoro-Ng said to laughs and applause.
Obama still returns almost every Christmas to visit family, indulge in local sushi, body surf at a beach on the southeastern coast of Oahu and look for sea turtles, Soetoro-Ng said. His parents and grandfather have died, and his grandmother is in poor health but has been following the presidential race closely on television, she said.
Maui for Obama, Feb. 15, 2008 (photo by Sara Kimura).
For information on how to participate in Hawai`i's caucus on Tuesday night, please contact the Democratic Party:
The vast majority of Hawai`i residents have never attended a caucus, and there's a lot of confusion about the process. The key is to remember that if you get to your caucus location by 6 p.m. to register as a voter and a member of the Democratic Party of Hawai`i, you're good to go. That's all it takes to help Hawai`i make history on Tuesday night!