Practical Issues > Politics
Hawai`i Has Vegan Running for State House

(Honolulu, HI) - Hawai`i may be the first state to have a grassroots, vegan, animal rights, and no-kill advocate win elected office if Frank De Giacomo wins this November.

A Green Party member, De Giacomo is running for an open seat vacated for the first time in 20 years and he thinks he he has a good shot.

"If you look at past elections, the incumbent would get around 2,400 votes and the Republican would get under a 1,000," said De Giacomo, "1,200 votes could win it in a district with one of the lowest voter turnouts in the state"

The district is one of the most ethnically diverse in the country, with the leading issue being poverty. Progressive candidates have done well there, with the leading proponent of gay marriage and a former anti-war protester turned college professor doing quite well in the primary.

However, De Giacomo thinks the election may come down to money. "The Republican just had to call a few friends to write $2,000 checks, and the Democrat inherited all the usual donors of the incumbent - since he was the incumbent’s former campaign manager."

But as a grassroots activist he feels he can run a leaner and smarter campaign. "Smarts and pure will power is what the movement relies on -- it's no different here," says De Giacomo. "Although volunteers and contributions are sorely needed for the final push before the election." He hopes to run television commercials with animal rights themed messages in them.

De Giacomo feels it is time for animal rights candidates to start running for elected office -- citing the successes of the political conservatives.

"The pendulum is swinging back toward progressive politics. Despite what you think about the conservatives, if animal rights activists had organized way back when we would have an animal rights version of Ralph Reed and George Bush by now," says De Giacomo. "Instead we are still fighting for crumbs off the table and have made demonstrably less progress than our overseas counterparts who have been involved in the political process."

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