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Q+A Brickwood Galuteria


We all know Brickwood Galuteria can sing, dance and emcee with the best entertainers in Hawai'i. But can Brickwood do politics? In his first foray into the political mosh pit Galuteria will serve as the chair of the state Democratic Party for the next four years. He faces the daunting task of rejuvenating a political party still reeling from the loss of the governorship to Republican Linda Lingle.

Q: You had a great life before politics as an entertainer. Why go into this dirty business?

A: I don't think community service is dirty business. It's a noble calling. You got to have a sense of wanting to do the best you can for your fellow man. That might sound clichéd but that's one of the reasons I'm doing it.

Q: So why the Democratic Party? You are a Native Hawaiian and last time I checked Linda Lingle was doing more to help Native Hawaiians.

Photo: Jimmy Forrest

A: Maybe she has a better way of spinning it but I haven't seen her do anything that's any different. She claimed that Washington was going to be coming on board because she was leading the charge. I haven't seen that yet. For me the value of the Democrats align with the values of the Hawaiian community. The Hawaiians are working people and the Democrats are the party of the working people. The Democratic Party is a party of fairness. And if Hawaiians want anything, they want fairness.

Q: But Democratic Gov. Cayetano vetoed the tax credit to Ko Olina that would have provided many Native Hawaiians who live on the West Side with jobs. Republican Gov. Linda Lingle passed it. So how can the Democrats help the Hawaiians with pocketbook issues?

A: I don't know how that played out politically at the time. I can only address the greater issues of the party and I hope to make the party more of a conscience for our Legislators and leaders. If that includes more support for Native Hawaiians, then so be it.

Q: The Republicans say they are going to take back the House. Can they do it?

A: No. The one thing the Republicans are good for is spin. They say they are going to target this and target that. We are going to target them, too. We got a big wake up call. We don't have the Fifth Floor anymore. But when all is said and done, I still feel the Democrats offer the best chance for a better life for all the citizens of Hawai'i.

Q: A better life for all citizens or only for union members?

A: If the Democrats were in the hip pocket of the unions, we would still have the Fifth Floor. For whatever reason, the unions did not show up last election. We are going to re-commit ourselves to the values of the party as a party of the people.

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Honolulu Magazine April 2020
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