Rep. Beth Fukumoto formally left the Republican Party on Wednesday amid controversy surrounding her criticism of President Donald Trump and the party in general. As stated in her letter of resignation, Fukumoto’s decision was based on what she perceives as a disturbing pattern of racism and sexism.
According to a news release, which was published by the Honolulu Star Advisor, Rep. Beth Fukumoto joined the Republican Party in 2009 with the expectation of addressing Hawaii’s ever-increasing cost of living, the housing crisis, income inequality, and lack of jobs.
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In Beth’s opinion, the Republican Party was “broken.” However, she believed a new generation could breathe life into the party with their “hope, ideas, and energy.”
Fukumoto thought the Democratic Party “represented the status quo.” At the time, she blamed the Democrats for ignoring the issues plaguing residents of Mililani and other cities throughout the state.
A native of Mililani, Hawaii, Beth Fukumoto attended the University of Hawaii at Mania, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies, and Georgetown University, where she earned a Master of Arts in English.
As reported by RepBethFukumoto.com, Fukumoto was elected to Hawaii’s House of Representatives in 2012. She went on to become the youngest person to serve as the state’s House Minority Leader.
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Throughout her political career, Beth Fukumoto was named as one of the Daily Beast’s “Nine Women Remaking the Right” and one of the Washington Post’s “40 under 40.” She was also awarded the Millennial Action Project’s James Madison Fellowship “for her demonstrated success in transcending partisan lines.”
Although she was praised for transcending partisan lines, Beth said her fellow Republicans often undermined her attempts to compromise.
In an interview with KHON2, Fukumoto explained that in her opinion, “The Republican Party is getting increasingly hostile to different opinions.”
Beth Fukumoto began facing intense scrutiny in May of 2016 when she suggested she was not “prepared to” vote for Donald Trump as the Republican nominee.
Following Trump’s nomination and ultimate victory, Beth remained outspoken in her criticism of the billionaire’s beliefs and behavior, which she described as “racist and sexist.” However, Fukumoto’s speech at a Women’s March event is blamed for her ultimate dismissal from the House of Representatives leadership position.
Amid the ongoing controversy, Beth Fukumoto began discussing the possibility of leaving the Republican Party.
In a January 31 letter to her constituents, Beth accused “Republicans in the state Legislature and in party leadership” of attempting to “censure” her for voicing her “concerns about the treatment of women and minorities by politicians in power.”
Fukumoto also stated that she was unable to adequately represent her constituents due to the Republican Party’s unwavering commitment to partisan politics and their refusal to compromise.
As reported by Honolulu Magazine, Beth received overwhelming support from her constituents. With their blessing, she moved forward with her controversial decision. On March 22, Fukumoto submitted her letter of resignation to the Hawaiian Republican Party.
As stated in the letter, Beth Fukumoto’s resignation was prompted by the “colonial mindset” she observed within the Republican Party. She specifically mentioned a proposed Muslim registry, which reminded her of the struggles experienced by her grandparents, who were Japanese-American.
In closing, Fukumoto said she wants “to see all Americans fight for diversity of opinion, moderation, minorities, women, and ultimately a better party system.” She also offered a piece of advice for the current administration and the Republican Party in general.
“No matter how many walls are built and travel bans enacted, America’s demographics will keep changing, and the Republican Party can’t keep marginalizing voices like mine and the people that care about what I’m saying.”
In addition to leaving the party, the representative said she will resign her elected position. She will also seek to join the Democratic Party. Neither the Republican Party nor President Donald Trump has commented on Beth Fukumoto’s letter of resignation.
[Featured Image by Cathy Bussewitz/AP Images]