The news May 22 that Hawaii State Rep. Barbara Marumoto was retiring from office this year was a surprise to all who know her. She is one of a kind and will be missed but not forgotten.
Marumoto will leave a real vacuum in the State House after 34 years of outspoken leadership and integrity.
After serving in the 1978 State Constitutional Convention (the last Con Con held in Hawaii), Marumoto ran for the State House and was elected the same year. She has been re-elected every two years since, representing the Waialae Kahala and East Honolulu area with distinction. She currently serves as Minority Policy Leader in the 8-member Republican House Minority.
Marumoto has proposed numerous positive bills for Hawaii’s taxpayers and families. Many have been enacted—under a Majority Democrat’s name. A usual practice. Marumoto’s legislative imprint is clear.
During the 2011 Legislative Session, new Governor Neil Abercrombie gave a budget briefing in the packed Capitol Auditorium. His message was full of harmful new and expanded tax proposals. Marumoto questioned him, politely, on his plan to tax pensions and further burden fixed income senior citizens. The aggressive Abercrombie, lashed out at Marumoto, attacked her personally, and stated she was wrong in her conclusions of the impact of the new tax.
Marumoto respectfully stood her ground and didn’t quit. Later, the Administration was forced to admit publicly that the Governor had misspoken and Rep. Marumoto had been correct.
Marumoto, a long time member of Smart Business Hawaii, championed many causes but was probably best known for her support of small business issues, safety for children (especially those riding in the back of trucks), patriotism, health concerns, tax reduction and fiscal reforms.
A signature Marumoto identity for nearly two decades has been her full Statue of Liberty costume, worn in the Kailua 4th of July and other parades, civic events and educational programs. Kids called her, “Miss Liberty,” and “Miss America,”
Photo: Senator Slom and Rep. Marumoto at 2006 Hawaii Statehood Rally.