America's Loneliest Senator: Hawaii's Lone Ranger Sam Slom

Hawaii may be the most reliably Democratic state in the union. In 2012, President Barack Obama won his home state of Hawaii by more than 42 percentage points, a margin larger than in any other state. Hawaii is so blue that its state senate seats only a single Republican. That Republican is Senator Sam Slom, known by his colleagues as the Lone Ranger.

Reason TV sat down with Slom to talk about what it's like being the only member of a minority part in a virtually single-party state, as well as to discuss the history of Hawaiin politics and what sort of future free market reforms could turn Hawaii into an international trade hub.

Approximately 4 minutes.

Interview by Sharif Matar. Camera and Editing by Zach Weissmueller.

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  • Paul.||

    And yet, Hawaii doesn't seem any where near as screwed up as other uniformly democratic states. What's their secret?

  • E. Zachary Knight||

    A 1.4 million person population and an economy nearly 100% based on tourism. With those being the two biggest factors governing politics the state of Hawaii, it would be extremely hard to screw it up. If you keep tourists happy and coming back all year round, the tourist industry remains happy and the 1.4 million people whose livelihoods are based on that industry will be happy. I seriously can't think of any way to screw that up aside from too high taxes, but the only real industry in the state would never let that happen and in all honesty, the government knows it doesn't need high taxes to care for those people.

    For those other Democratic states, they tend to have larger populations and a more diversive economy that is harder to micromanage.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    And military spending.

  • prolefeed||

    and in all honesty, the government knows it doesn't need high taxes to care for those people.

    The fuck it doesn't. About half of the legislators are from the communist wing of the Democratic party. Marginal income tax rates are 10% or so, they have a GET (basically a VAT), and the death from a thousand cuts approach from taxing.

  • ||

    They're Hawaii. They have a consistently strong tourist industry, have always had high costs because they're islands, and just really don't operate like the rest of the states. They're on island time, bitches.

  • DaveAnthony||

    Tourism AND Federal Govt keeps things running.

  • Calidissident||

    Adjusted for cost of living, Hawaii has the lowest median household income in the country

  • prolefeed||

    Oh, Hawaii is plenty screwed up. The low unemployment rate is due to people often making half of what they could make on the Mainland.

    I worked a session with Senator Slom. Funny guy. Libertarian-ish, especially about economic issues, though it was nails on the chalkboard time whenever the subject of gays came up.

  • Butler T. Reynolds||

    Hawaii might be screwed up for all we know. Out of sight, out of mind.

  • T||

    I'll be more than happy to go on a fact-finding expedition to prove or disprove this thesis if I can get funding.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

  • Brandybuck||

    Yup. I got lost once in Honolulu and ended up outside the Potempkin-Tourist zone. With all tropical foliage it really did look like a third world banana republic.

  • ||

    They sent their idiot away years ago. It's been smooth sailing ever since.

  • 16th amendment||

    Hawaii gets more than it's fair share of defense spending. I read somewhere that defense spending is 20% of the state's GDP. The late democrat senator Inouye was known for making sure Hawaii get's a lot of military spending, though he voted against the Iraq war.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Yeah, plenty of Navy, the 25th Infantry Division (Light) parties, er, is stationed there too.

    I say we conquer the place - you all can have the beaches, I just want a Kona coffee plantation. *polishes monocle*

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