Aloha to Hawaii’s ‘Lone Ranger’

Picture credit score: Honolulu Civil Beat

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By Keli’i Akina

It’s a uncommon man who enters politics and leaves this world mourned as a lot by his political adversaries as his associates and allies.


Sam Slom was a uncommon man.

A former chief economist at Financial institution of Hawaii, president of Small Enterprise Hawaii, member of the Grassroot Institute’s board of advisers and epitome of the citizen-legislator, Slom handed away on Sunday on the age of 81.

To those that knew him solely by fame, Sam’s fundamental declare to fame was as the only real Republican senator within the Hawaii Legislature from 2010 to 2016, which have been the final six years of his 20-year tenure representing East Oahu.

Keli’i Akina

It was a job he full of grace and good humor, making mild of his solitary standing at the same time as he continued to advance principled arguments for fiscal restraint and small authorities.

To those that labored with him, Sam was all that and extra. In reality, he was the rarest sort of man — one who was precisely what he gave the impression to be.

If he got here throughout to you as somebody who was fiercely patriotic, but respectful and welcoming of all views, that’s as a result of he was.

In the event you have been impressed by his deep mind, lightened by his robust humorousness, you have been seeing the genuine Sam.

In the event you have been touched by his generosity and willingness to mentor others, you then knew the aspect of Sam that believed deeply in sharing and serving to these round him.

Sam was famously accessible to all, and identified for treating everybody with respect. Throughout his on-air tribute to Sam on Monday, radio host Rick Hamada famous that anybody who wished to speak to Sam may go to the Hawaii Kai Safeway or the Koko Head Zippy’s and be certain of getting a gathering. As one caller to Hamada’s present stated of Sam, “What a gentleman. What a servant-leader he was.”

Sam Slom

Regardless of being a part of the “loyal opposition,” Sam was deeply revered for the way in which he represented his ideas within the Legislature. 

State Sen. Donna Kim informed Hawaii Information Now that Sam even persuaded folks to alter their votes every so often, including, “He did convey up actually good factors, and actually, I feel, made us take into consideration issues.”

Mayor Rick Blangiardi stated of Sam: “Even for those who disagreed with him, that’s what you wished. To have someone there, someone who noticed the opposite aspect of it.”

Former U.S. Rep. and Hawaii Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who appeared commonly on a radio program with Sam years in the past, reminisced with Hamada about how the three of them may have interaction in fierce debates, then exit to breakfast and revel in one another’s firm. 

She remembered Sam saying, “You possibly can disagree with out being unpleasant,” and credited him with cherishing range as a fundamental purpose for America’s greatness.

Sam might have grown up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, however he mirrored the spirit of our islands like few others. In his work, he epitomized the ethos of “E hana kākou” (“Let’s work collectively”), at all times discovering widespread floor and methods to work with others, no matter any variations.

In his opening remarks at first of the 2015 Legislature, Sam first drew on his humorousness. 

“On behalf of the complete Senate minority: Aloha!” he stated. 

Then he pledged to proceed to symbolize the “loyal however accountable opposition to dangerous laws whereas advocating affordable different laws to resolve issues and ease the financial burdens on our residents.”

He stated his job and the job of his fellow legislators was to “restore and encourage the general public’s confidence in our course of, and to be extra clear and accountable ourselves, whereas empowering our residents. We now have to do extra than simply discuss or make speeches; we’d like applicable motion. We are able to do that.”

After highlighting most of the issues dealing with Hawaii — and what he wish to do about them — he once more made a pledge:

“On behalf of the Senate minority, I pledge our continued efforts to help good laws no matter who introduces it, to look at and report truthfully on the influence of all payments, and to work towards ending legislative exemptions for ourselves for legal guidelines we cross on to others.

“We have a good time our God-given liberty and our means to alter,” he continued. “Our objective mustn’t simply be a ‘New Day’ however a ‘Higher Day.’ This isn’t a partisan subject. Collectively we should navigate a distinct course with a imaginative and prescient of how a lot higher Hawaii could be.”

That was Sam — principled however affordable, loyal and accountable, a patriot, a defender of liberty and a beautiful good friend.

Aloha ‘oe, Sam. I’ll miss you. Hawaii will miss you.

Keli‘i Akina is president and CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.