33-Year-Old Republican Rep. to Become Democrat

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About two months after she was voted out as Hawaii House minority leader, 33-year-old Republican lawmaker Beth Fukumoto publicly resigned from her party to pursue a position as a Democrat, Reuters reports.

According to NBC News, Fukumoto was ousted from her position of three years after speaking out against President Donald Trump at the Women’s March. “There were many little girls watching [the election] who walked away believing that you can bully people and still win,” she said. “And what I said at the march was that regardless of who we voted for in the election, it was all of our responsibilities to show those same kids that in the end kindness and respect should always win.”

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Fukumoto said it was her actual participation in the march (as well as what she said about Trump while she was there) that provoked harsh criticism from her caucus. Within 24 hours, she’d reportedly been contacted by members of her party asking her to resign.

Instead, she was hoping some of her fellow Republicans would denounce Trump’s comments about women and minorities, but when no one did, she became increasingly upset with her party. “That for me was the issue that really changed how I felt,” she told Reuters.

In an open letter of resignation to the Republican Party, she restated her concerns: “This election, I saw members of my party marginalizing and condemning minorities, ethnic or otherwise, and making demeaning comments towards women,” she wrote.

Fukumoto is now seeking membership with the Democratic Party – in the meantime, she will be the lone independent representative in Hawaii’s lower house.

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