What campaigning 24/7 looks like – 17 days Out by Gary Hooser

By at October 23, 2016 | 5:03 pm | Print

What campaigning 24/7 looks like – 17 days Out by Gary Hooser


Gary Hooser is running for re-election to the Kauai County Council, HI and shares what it is like to run for office.

October 22, 2016

My eyes open at around 4:15am on most mornings. My phone alarm which I set religiously rarely ever actually rings as my internal clock advances earlier and earlier every day.

I stumble into the kitchen, grind the beans and prepare the coffee (black and strong), part of which is consumed while taking a hot shower. I then sit in my regular spot at the kitchen table and catch up on the news and the never-ending stream of email. Cameron who is helping me now daily, arrives at 5:45am and we depart to “hold signs” and greet the morning commuters in various parts of the island. Cameron drives so I can continue working on my phone, reviewing and responding to various email.

We “hold signs”, wave and throw more than a few “shaka’s” as what seems like an endless flow of cars stream by until about 7:45am. It may seem strange perhaps to some, but I thoroughly enjoy this early morning ritual. In a peculiar way it offers me a time of quiet solitude even in the midst of the constant sound of the traffic and occasional honking. The folks in the cars mostly smile, wave back or return the shaka in affirmation of the brief contact being made, even as they pass quickly by moving on to unknown destinations and activities. Some of course will turn and look away and a very few sad and sometimes angry individuals will offer a less than positive hand gesture.

8am until 10am or so is usually reserved for “meetings” which often means more coffee as I grab quality time with friends/associates/constituents in the community at coffee shops around the island, reviewing issues that may be impacting them personally or perhaps just catching up and reconnecting. Impacting the lives of regular people in a positive way and responding to the needs of my community is where the rubber meets the road for me, and I love it.

Before, after and in-between the face-to-face meetings I am on the phone, either talking, texting or sending out email. At 10:30 or so, I will head to the campaign HQ to huddle with Cameron and meet with campaign volunteers – moving forward various aspects of the campaign including the final media push, ordering last minute supplies, paying bills, raising money for which to use to pay those bills, and reaching out to people in the community who have offered to help.

In between it all I will text or call my children, check on Maximus Aurelius, double check with Claudette and unless the time of day has already gotten “too late”, I will perhaps give my mother in Georgia a call. My new grandson Rixon is just a month old. I don’t see him often enough and have convinced myself that he does not miss grandpa quite yet and so I can make up for the infrequent visits now by spoiling him rotten once the campaign is over.

Around 2pm I will remember I have had neither breakfast nor lunch and that coffee was not going to sustain me much further. To fuel the balance of the day I will grab whatever consumable food-like substance is closest at hand. Sometimes it is organic and green, sometimes a bento, sometimes a peanut butter sandwich and often simply trail mix (without the M&M’s). I will chase this down with 2000 mg’s of vitamin C, maybe a multivitamin and copious amounts of H2O.

Depending on the day, late afternoons are often spent canvassing neighborhoods and putting up signs and banners. Our goal is to knock on doors and place our signs in every single town and community on Kauai before November 8th and we are on track to reach that goal. Residents are often pleasantly surprised to see it is actually the candidate on their doorstep and some will take a moment or two to share their thoughts about the County and its challenges.

On many days there are functions and events and often multiple commitments that conflict but must be accommodated. Sometimes this means attending one function at perhaps the Kauai Marriott and then leaving early to attend another at Princeville or in Waimea. While these functions are primarily social in nature (community fundraisers and annual gala celebrations), the hosting organization and others in attendance view the presence of candidates as an indicator of respect and interest for their particular cause. These events offer a unique look into each and every segment of our culture and community, and the food experience and wide variety of culinary delights available at these functions is awesome (but sometimes tough on the waist-line)

On Saturdays and now even on Sundays we also canvass all day in one neighborhood or another. Walking door-to-door and speaking directly with people in the community is without a doubt the most valuable activity a candidate can participate in. Talking with people one-on-one about the issues that impact them most directly is a key part of staying connected to the real world that lives outside the political bubble many in government reside in.

There is one fundamental rule of serving in public office:

“No matter how smart you are, no matter how hard you work and no matter how good you are in your heart – you cannot serve in public office unless you can get elected.”

I love the work that I do and would like to keep doing it. And though arduous and stressful at times, I love the campaign as well.

Campaigning for election is an important part of the process that prepares candidates for the job of actual serving in elective office. Today, I feel more prepared than ever. I know also that the coming 2 years of service will for me be the most productive and fruitful of my entire time in public service I am committed to this and you have my word on it.


Gary Hooser

P.S. YES – Our campaign still needs additional funds to pay for our final, final push to win on November 8th. If you can help, please contribute TODAY if you can. No amount is too small and the maximum allowable by law is $2,000 per person. You can give online athttp://garyhooser.com/donate-now/ or via mail to Friends of Gary Hooser, 5685 Ohelo Road, Kapaa HI. 96746. We also continue to need volunteers to assist with canvassing, phone-banking and “holding signs” – please sign up at http://www.garyhooser.com to volunteer!


Gary Hooser presently serves on the Kauai County Council and is Chair Of The Public Safety Committee. He served in the Hawaii State Senate representing the islands of Kaua’i and Ni’ihau from 2002 – 2010 and held the position of Majority Leader in the Senate from 2006 – 2010. Hooser also served as the Director of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) for the State of Hawaii. He was appointed by Governor Neil Abercrombie and confirmed by the Hawaii State Senate in early 2011 and served until mid-2012 when he left the position to run for election to the Kauai County Council.







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  • greendogdemo

    What are “shakas?” Cocktail shakers I hope. You deserve it after walking the walk; talking the talk!

  • Gary Hooser

    Ha! “shaka’s” are a “hand gesture” particularly linked to people who live in Hawaii. Prez Obama “throws a shaka” every once in a while when he walks in a parade etc. It basically involves extending the “pinky finger” and thumb…while keeping the other fingers closed in a fist. 😉 If someone “shows shaka” or “throws you a shaka”…traditionally you show/throw one back at them…a positive sign of Hawaii connections…Campaigning “Hawaii style”.

  • greendogdemo

    OK, I got it now! But i still think a cocktail shaka’ would be a good thing too after a long day of campaigning! Best of luck to you!

  • Gary Hooser

    Yes! Hope to be having that kind of shaka on the evening of November 8th!