Connecting With Community – A Conversation with Hawaii State Rep. Adrian Tam

Anna & Anthony chat with Hawaii State Rep. Adrian Tam (D-Waikiki), 28, about how community involvement spurred his political career.

Chanikarn Thongsupa

LBJ Library

Brendan Smialowski, Agence France-Presse

The Blog
The Blog

Connecting With Community – A Conversation with Hawaii State Rep. Adrian Tam

Last year, Adrian Tam beat out a 14-year incumbent in the primary and went on the defeat a member of the Hawaii Proud Boys to win his seat at 28-years-old, becoming the first openly gay Asian-American in the State House. For so many of us, politicians can seem a world away from our actual lives, as much as they try to stay connected to their constituents. Adrian, however, built an impressive coalition of voters by engaging with his community from Day 1.

We spoke with him about how the constraints of campaigning in a time of Covid presented new opportunities to connect with people through community service.

By appearing for those around him who needed help, Adrian connected with individuals that he might not have otherwise – a silver lining not just for his campaign but for the people of the district he represents.

Additionally, he told us about his plans to help get Hawaii’s economy back on track. The island state has obviously been hit incredibly hard by Covid, as so much of their economy relies on tourism. Adrian noted that the state of Hawaii has never done a great job of expanding other industries to keep its citizens – especially the young ones – from leaving for the mainland to find more opportunity. He wants to change that.

For more from Adrian, check out our chat with him above.

Young politicians like him have new, innovative ideas about how to shape the future of their states and this country and it’s important that we listen to them!