Get Involved


Meet the Caucus

The House Minority Caucus is made up of five members.

Representative Andria Tupola (center) is the House Minority Leader and represents District 43 – Ewa Villages, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Nanakai Gardens, Ko Olina, Kahe Point, Nanakuli, Lualualei, Maili.

Representative Gene Ward (left) is the House Minority Floor Leader and Leader Emeritus, and represents District 17 – Kalama Valley, Hawaii Kai.

Representative Lauren Matsumoto (second from left) represents District 45 – Schofield, Mokuleia, Waialua, Kunia, Waipio Acres, Mililani.

Representative Bob McDermott (right) represents District 40 – Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Iroquois Point.

Representative Cynthia Thielen (fourth from left) represents District 50 – Kailua, Kaneohe Bay.

2018 Caucus Package

Better Solutions for the Best Hawai’i – Intro Video

Hawai’i has lost sight of what really matters, you.

We aspire to provide Better Solutions for the Best Hawai’i. We have been creating a bill package that strives to make our government and our state more accountable, affordable, and accessible to and for you.

How you can get involved!

The 2018 legislative session begins in January. We need your help! If these bill ideas resonate with you:

  • Voice your support! Contact your representative and encourage them to vote in support of these bills.
  • Suggestions! Make an appointment with a Republican legislator to discuss the bills.
  • Testify! Attend the hearings during the legislative session and testify in support of the bill or submit testimony online at

More about the bill ideas:

Did you know the average family in Hawai’i pays about $650 in taxes on food alone? We endeavor to provide a solution for our state that would make our cost of living a little more affordable. Join us in telling our government, “stop taxing life” by excluding food, life’s necessity, from the General Excise Tax. View this video to put it in perspective.

Equal Funding for Charter Schools
Did you know that not all of our keiki get equal funding for school? Unlike DOE schools, charter schools have to use their funds to also pay for facilities, special education, transportation and other necessities. We need your help in advocating for “equal funding for our Charter Schools“.

End Permit Purgatory
Hawai’i has the longest average wait time for a building or construction permit – 17 months! In order to get the families of Hawai’i affordable housing quicker, the wait time must be significantly decreased. The Republican Caucus is introducing legislation that will urge the City and County’s Department of Planning and Permitting to decrease wait times so that we can keep up with the growing demand for affordable housing.

Show Us The Price Tag!
Hawai’i is constantly bamboozled by legislation that does not show us the fiscal impact. Take for example, the Honolulu Rail Project. It was first $3 billion, then $8 billion, and just this past September the legislative body passed another tax increase and GET extension that would round-up the price to be $10 billion. We were never made aware that this project could eventually cost $10 billion. Join us in telling your legislators, “show us the price tag!” Give HB 1729 a hearing. This bill will require a fiscal note that will make the public and lawmakers aware of the possible impact legislation might have.

See the info sheet for more information on other bills in our caucus package.

Caucus Package 2018

The Mike Buck Show with guest Rep. Tupola May 22, 2017 -Audio Only

May 22, 2017 MIKE BUCK with Rep. Andria Tupola

Mike Buck discusses the issues at the Hawaii State Legislature with his guest Representative Andria Tupola, Minority Leader, (R – H District 43 Ewa Villages, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Nanakai Gardens, Ko Olina, Kahe Point, Nanakuli, Lualualei,

This week topics include; Rail, Unfunded state liability, HB451 HD1 SD2 CD1- The bill addresses  Hawaiian Home Lands; Successors; Blood Quantum, renewable energy, landfills and  the Marijuana Dispensary Town Hall with Reps. Har, Tupola, Cullen is on May 30th.



A Banner Year For Secrecy, Behind-The-Scenes Maneuvering At The Legislature

By Representative Gene Ward – May 25, 2017 – Civil Beat

From reducing poverty to increasing affordable housing, lawmakers could have done much better for the people of Hawaii.

In the wake of the 2017 legislative session, some commenters have given the Legislature an undeserved pat on the back. The truth is that we could and should have done much better for the people of Hawaii this session.

The heart of a strong, healthy democracy should be vigorous debate. Unfortunately, outside observers agree that this was a banner year for secrecy and behind-the-scenes maneuvering at the Legislature.

As former Speaker Rep. Joe Souki – who wasn’t “former” until the final hours of the 2017 session – recently admitted, “We are always secretive. It’s part of being a legislator.”

When it came to doing the people’s business, the Legislature repeatedly dropped the ball.

Reducing Poverty — But Not Enough

The Legislature finally passed a version of a state earned income tax credit to help low-income working families (House Bill 209), but it is unfortunate that it took so long and only resulted in a half-measure. The federal EITC is the most efficient and effective federal program to reduce poverty. That’s why the Republican caucus introduced a more fiscally responsible bill to create a state EITC in each of the past two sessions.

The majority’s version unwisely increases taxes on high-earning job creators, threatening the jobs of the very same working families they claim to help. In addition, because the credit is non-refundable, the poor will only really benefit from half of the tax increase while the state coffers keep the rest.

The Republican caucus has introduced measures to eliminate general excise taxes on food and medical services for years. Unfortunately, the majority has not given a fair hearing to these proposals to reduce the heavy burden of our state’s unusually regressive tax system on the working poor. To be frank, the only real cost-of-living reductions experienced by the people of Hawaii have come from Walmart, Costco and Target, not policymakers in the Legislature.

Doing Little On Affordable Housing

The Legislature’s actions on housing this session amount to only a single drop in the ocean of Hawaii’s affordable housing shortage, which has now reached over 45,000 units.

There are two real ways to increase the affordability of housing, but the Legislature did neither of them.

First, the state could actually pay for significant amounts of affordable housing construction — but there’s no money in this budget to accomplish that.

Second, the state could help the market meet demand by clearing away the restrictions and red tape that too often prevent private developers from taking action to increase the housing supply.

Instead, the majority wasted time considering just how much more red tape to add in transit-oriented development zones around the rail project. It refused to even consider selling development rights along the rail corridor – something that Japan and Hong Kong do all the time to raise private sector funds.

Threatening The Judiciary And Faith-Based Organizations

Unfortunately, one thing the Legislature actually did accomplish this year was threatening the majority’s enemies. The majority caucus in the House insisted on passing a measure that would have cut judges’ pensions (Senate Bill 249), against the advice of the Salary Commission and every sense of decency to the Judiciary.

All minority members spoke out, loud and clear, against this measure. Thankfully, it finally died in conference committee.

The Legislature also took aim at faith-based organizations with an unconstitutional bill that will force pro-life pregnancy centers to put signs in their windows to advertise programs that provide free abortions and contraception (Senate Bill 501). This ill-conceived and malicious bill goes even further than a similar California law currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In summary, according to some veteran observers, the 2017 Legislature was one of the worst sessions in the past 40 years. Anyone who claims the 2017 session wasn’t an embarrassment would need a very large fig leaf to cover all of the Legislature’s errors and omissions.

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About the Author

  • Gene Ward
    Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley) is a Vietnam veteran and former presidential appointee as a senior democracy officer in the U.S. Agency for International Development.