Bylaws of the Kupuna Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai`i as amended and approved by the Caucus Steering Committee on October 15, 2016.


The volunteer Kupuna Caucus Steering Committee is a council of politically-experienced elders including many long-time members of the Democratic Party of Hawai`i (DPH). We are the living link to our party’s Progressive political history. We are the Kupuna.

The Caucus embodies the ideal that younger DPH members together with our more-experienced members have much to learn from and share with one another and the DPH. For this reason, there is no age limit to becoming an active member. Nor do you need to be a member of the DPH to participate. However, only DPH members are eligible to stand for elected Caucus offices. Once you have joined on line, we will contact you to help identify the scope of what you might be willing to “do” to help advance our Progressive agenda.

The purpose of our very active Caucus includes advancing specific goals through legislation, advocacy, participation in public meetings, political organizing, election campaigns and education. You may join us simply by opting-in to our email list on our Web site HERE. One may also “like” our Facebook page there.

While we do send occasional emails with timely information, we use email primarily during the regular State Legislative Sessions.

Our officers are elected by our members in the four counties to conduct the many diverse activities of the Kupuna Caucus (KC) and to advocate for issues that concern our members; at public events and at the Hawaii State Legislature.

Our Steering Committee members assume we are elected to represent our universal best interests, make informed decisions, and to keep our active members as close in the information loop as possible in order that, together, we can accomplish the needed work.

We deem frank, honest communications to be key.

Based upon common sense and life experience, we have made the following bylaws as clear and functional as possible in order to expedite the implementation of the Caucus’ core missions; the actual work. As we move forward, suggested changes and edits will be considered by our Steering Committee and the appropriate adjustments will be made.


Section 1 – Name of Organization The Kupuna Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. Section 2 – Office of Record. The office of record shall be that of the DPH.


Section 1 – Mission, Specific Purposes & Objectives. The Kupuna Caucus (the Caucus) is dedicated to supporting and promoting the values and positions of the Democratic Party of Hawaii (DPH) by honoring the wealth of experience and wisdom of our senior members; our Kupuna. Voting membership may include any member of the DPH who pledges to actively support and promote the values and positions of the Caucus. The Caucus embodies the ideal that younger DPH members together with our more-experienced members have much to learn from and share with one another and the DPH. The purpose of the Caucus includes advancing specific goals through legislation, advocacy, participation in public meetings, political organizing, election campaigns and education. Further, the Caucus is dedicated to advancing the interests of Hawaii’s seniors with respect to end-of-life issues including but not limited to: Death With Dignity and end-of-life choices; health; long term care; the challenges of caregivers; Social Security; Medicare & Medicaid and other government support programs; senior housing; transportation for seniors; the homeless, and careful monitoring of the Hawaii Executive Office on Aging and the Hawaii State Long Term Care Ombudsman.

Section 2 – The Caucus is strongly committed to encouraging and supporting meaningful participation of neighbor island members in the activities of the Caucus so that the unique concerns of members throughout our island state may be equally represented in Caucus governance and decision-making. To this end, we are seeking permission from the DPH State Central Committee (SCC) to enable our Neighbor Island Representatives with selective access to the online DPH database and email system in order to better grow and organize their local constituencies. If and when achieved, access to the DPH database will be assigned, supported and monitored by the Caucus Chair and the Caucus Communications Committee.

ARTICLE THREE Section 1 – Designation of Officers and the Steering Committee. The Officers of the Caucus consist of a Chair, a First Vice Chair, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. The Caucus may also have additional Vice Chairs, Assistant Secretaries, Assistant Treasurers and other such Officers with such titles and duties as may be determined and assigned from time to time by the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee shall include: The above elected Officers and, The two (2) elected representatives to the SCC (one male & one female); Two (2) at large  from Oahu who are identified and elected by the Oahu members of the Steering Committee. Two (2) elected at large representatives from Hawai`i County (Hilo & Kona); One (1) elected representative from Kauai County, and One (1) elected representative from Maui County. Steering Committee members shall be entitled to one vote in decision making.

Section 2 – Qualifications. Any member of the DPH for one year (12 months) may serve as an officer or Steering Committee member. Candidates shall submit a brief application (three paragraphs maximum) articulating their interest. Exceptions can be made to the above one year (12 months) membership requirement by a simple majority vote of the Steering Committee.

Section 3 – Elections, Meetings and Term of Office. Officers shall be elected by the Caucus membership in even numbered years at the first scheduled meeting following the biennial Democratic Party of Hawai‘i State Convention. The exact meeting date and time shall be determined by the Steering Committee. Subject to the call of the Chair, in order to enable and encourage more active participation in the Caucus, all meetings will be held at either a physical meeting place, via a virtual meeting or by a combination of both. The term of office shall begin at the end of the biennial State Convention and shall end at the conclusion of the next biennial Convention. County Representatives shall be nominated and voted upon by Caucus members residing in their home County. Should a county Caucus not be organized, that County Representative shall be identified and elected by the State Caucus Steering Committee and will serve until the end of the next biennial State Convention. The order of election to the State Caucus shall be as follows: Secretary Chair First Vice Chair Treasurer 1 Female & 1 Male Caucus representatives to the SCC Oahu (2) Maui (1) Kaua‘i (1) Hawai‘i County (2).

Section 4 – Resignation and Removal. An Officer may resign effective upon giving written notice to the Caucus Chair and Secretary. Upon receipt of written evidence presented to the Steering Committee, an Officer or Steering Committee member can be removed by a 2/3 vote of all state members who participate in a properly noticed regular or special meeting. The required quorum shall be 50% +1 of the number of members participating in the meeting. 10 business days notice shall be given by email or phone to the membership of the pending removal of an officer or Steering Committee member.

Section 5 – Vacancies. Any vacancy caused by the death, resignation, removal, disqualification, or otherwise of any officer or Steering Committee member shall be filled by the Steering Committee. In the event of a vacancy in any office other than the Chair, such vacancy may be filled temporarily by appointment by the Chair until such time as the Steering Committee fills the vacancy during a noticed regular or special meeting. Absent a Chair, the Vice-Chair will call a Special membership meeting to fill the vacancy.

Section 6 – Duties of the Chair. The Chair shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Caucus and shall supervise the affairs of the Caucus and the activities of the Officers and Steering Committee in accordance with these bylaws, those of the DPH and in accordance with all current Hawaii Revised Statutes. The Chair shall preside at meetings of the Steering Committee and the Caucus and except as otherwise expressly provided by law, shall, in the name of the Caucus, execute such deeds, mortgages, bonds, contracts, checks or other instruments which may from time to time be authorized by the Steering Committee or the membership. The Chair shall establish and maintain direct communications with all DPH Caucus Chairs in order to coordinate mutual efforts. The Chair or their personally designated alternate may attend the SCC meetings.

Section 7 – Duties of the First Vice Chair. In the absence or vacancy of the Chair, the First Vice Chair or their designate shall perform all the duties of the Chair, and when so acting shall have all the powers invested in the Chair. The First Vice Chair shall have other powers and perform other such duties as may be prescribed by the bylaws of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, the laws of the State of Hawaii, by these bylaws or which may be prescribed, from time to time, by the Steering Committee or membership.

Section 8 – Duties of the Secretary. The duties of the Secretary shall be: Take and maintain minutes on paper or in an electronic format of all noticed meetings. Ensure that all notices on paper or in an electronic format are duly given in accordance with these Bylaws; Be the custodian of the records on paper or in an electronic format of the Caucus; At all reasonable times and upon written request, provide copies of or access to any records or documents relating to the Caucus to any member within 10 days of such a request. Perform normal duties incident to the office of the Secretary and other duties as may be prescribed from time to time by the Steering Committee.

Section 9 – Duties of the Treasurer. The duties of the Treasurer shall be to: have charge and custody of, and be responsible for, all funds and securities of the Kūpuna Caucus in such banks, trust companies, or other depositories as shall be selected and approved by the Steering Committee; Receive and give receipt for monies due and payable to the Caucus from any source; Disburse, or cause to be disbursed, the funds of the Caucus as maybe directed by the Steering Committee, taking proper vouchers for such disbursements; Keep and maintain adequate and correct accounts on paper or in an electronic format of all the Caucus properties and business transactions, including accounts of its assets, liabilities, receipts, disbursements, gains and losses; Exhibit at all reasonable times the books of account and financial records to any member of this Caucus on paper or in an electronic format, as may be prescribed by the Steering Committee; Render to the Chair or any member of this Caucus, whenever requested, an account of any or all of his or her transactions as Treasurer and of the financial condition of the Caucus on paper or in an electronic format as prescribed by the Steering Committee; Prepare or cause to be prepared, and certify, or cause to be certified, any financial statements to be included in any required reports on paper or in an electronic format; Prepare or cause to be prepared, financial statements at the request of the Steering Committee and for distribution and report at all regular membership meetings of the Caucus on paper or in an electronic format; In general, perform all duties incident to the office of the Treasurer and other such duties as may be required by the Bylaws of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, the laws of the State of Hawai‘i, by these Bylaws or which may be prescribed, from time to time, by the Steering Committee.

Section 10 – Duties of the Male & female Caucus Representatives to the SCC. The Male & female Caucus representatives to the SCC shall coordinate their attendance and mandated reporting for all scheduled SCC meetings. They shall query the Steering Committee members at least 5 days before SCC reports are due in order to present the most current State and Neighbor Island Caucus activities and to present any questions from same in person to the SCC. Further, in order to keep the Steering Committee current on the SCC meetings and actions, the attending SCC Representative(s) shall aquire and email the most current SCC minutes, once available, to the Steering Committee with their noted observations of the SCC proceedings including the answers to any questions posed by any Steering Committee member.

Section 11 – Duties of the County Representatives. The County Representatives or their designate(s) shall assist the Steering Committee with general membership outreach in their Counties, participate in all Steering Committee meetings, inform our Steering Committee about their chapter’s unique issues, assist the Steering Committee in coordinating legislative activities, and consider other tasks as might be suggested by our State Caucus Chair.

Section 12 – Compensation. Unless otherwise approved by the Steering Committee, no Officer or Steering Committee member will be compensated other than for actual expenses required to fulfill the duties and expectations of the Caucus in accordance with policies established by the Steering Committee or membership.

ARTICLE FOUR Section 1 – Committees. At the call of the Chair, the Caucus may establish committees and may include persons who are not members of the DPH. All committees shall act in an advisory capacity to the Officers, Steering Committee and membership. Committee shall keep minutes and/or reports of their proceedings routinely file them with the Caucus Secretary who shall distribute such records to the Caucus Steering Committee for any formal action. County Representatives may similarly establish committees.

Section 2 – Steering Committee. The Steering Committee of the Caucus shall consist of the Chair, First Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, each County Representative and the two (2) Kupuna Caucus representatives to the SCC.

ARTICLE FIVE Section 1 – Membership Eligibility. Membership in the Caucus shall be open to all active members of the DPH who express their desire to support the Caucus and its specific purposes and objectives as stated in Article Two (2). Caucus membership shall also be open to any person not an active member of The Democratic Party of Hawai‘i but who supports the Caucus Statement of Purpose as defined in Article Two (2) as a non-voting member with the right to participate in all activities of the caucus except to hold an elected office or to vote on Caucus matters.

Section 2 – Enrollment. The procedure for enrollment in the Caucus shall be 1) via the check-off box on the DPH membership form; 2) via a sign-up sheet made available at any Caucus-sanctioned event or meeting, or 3) by opting-in to our official email list located on out Web site Home Page HERE.

DUES AND FUNDRAISING A member or supporter may pay the annual voluntary Caucus membership dues of ten dollars ($10) and may submit additional voluntary contributions. The Caucus may suggest payment of the voluntary annual membership dues at any time and conduct membership and fundraising appeals as deemed necessary by the Steering Committee. All County Representatives are encouraged to conduct similar membership and fundraising appeals which shall be coordinated with the Steering Committee. Such funds shall remain in the County Caucus chapter in which said funds are raised. However, a minimum of 20% of all funds raised by any county Caucus organization will be contributed to the State Democratic Party of Hawaii’s operating fund within 30 days after said funds are raised.


Section 1 – Execution of Instruments. The Steering Committee, except as otherwise provided in these bylaws, may by resolution authorize any officer or agent of the Caucus to enter into any contract or execute and deliver any instrument in the name of and on behalf of the Caucus, and such authority may be general or confined to specific instances. Unless so authorized, no officer, agent or employee shall have the power or authority to bind the Caucus by any contract or engagement or to pledge its credit or to render it liable monetarily for any purpose or in any amount. Except as otherwise specifically determined by resolution of the Steering Committee, or as otherwise required by law; checks, drafts, promissory notes, orders for the payment of money, and other evidence of indebtedness of the Kūpuna Caucus shall be signed by the Treasurer and countersigned by the the Caucus Chair. In the absence or unavailability of the Chair, the First Vice Chair may countersign any and all such instruments.

Section 2 – Deposits. All funds of the Caucus shall be deposited in a timely manner to the credit of the Caucus in such banks, trust companies, or other depositories, as the Steering Committee shall approve Section 3 – Gifts The Steering Committee may accept any contribution, gift, bequest or devise.


Section 1 – Satisfying Debts. The Caucus is authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions for goods received in furtherance of the stated purposes of the Caucus and in accordance with the by-laws and policies set forth by the Steering Committee.

FINAL DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS – Upon the dissolution of this Caucus, its remaining assets after payment or provision for payment of all liabilities of the Caucus shall be distributed to the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i.

ARTICLE SEVEN – AMENDMENTS TO BYLAWS. Except as may be otherwise specified by the bylaws of the DPH and Hawaii Revised Statutes, the Steering Committee shall have the power to amend, alter or repeal any or all sections of these bylaws upon approval of a simple majority of the Steering Committee participating at a properly notified (10 days) Special meeting. The amended bylaws shall be presented for approval by the SCC at the next scheduled SCC meeting. Upon SCC approval, the updated bylaws will be posted on the Caucus Web site and the full membership notified by email or phone call.

ARTICLE EIGHT –  ELECTION PROCESS FOR KUPUNA CAUCUS REPRESENTATIVES TO THE STATE CENTRAL COMMITTEE (SCC). NOTE: We believe that the selection of these very important Kupuna Caucus Officers can be best decided by the sitting Steering Committee; experienced individuals and many Kupuna who have first-hand experience with the important work required. These two Officers must possess a depth of knowledge and understanding of both the Party mechanisms and many diverse issues — because they will be casting our two Caucus votes during the important SCC meetings. These two individuals must understand what they are voting on while representing our specific interests during the vital State Central Committee meetings of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. – Scott Foster, Chair

Section 1 – Candidates for Caucus Representatives to the SCC. Candidates must have been active members in good standing of the Democratic Party of Hawaii for one year (12 months), and an active member of the Caucus on or before the scheduled date of the biennial State Party precinct meetings in even years. “Active member” is defined as one who has demonstrably participated in previous Party and/or Caucus activities. Nominations shall first be solicited from the full caucus membership. After a 10-day open window, nominations will close and the Caucus Steering Committee will have 10 days to analyze the applicants and elect the Female & Male SCC Representatives.

Section 2 – Nomination papers shall include: 1) Ten dollar ($10) filing fee payable at the time of nomination to the State Democrat Party of Hawaii. 2) Written statement on paper or in electronic format consisting of the following:

A. Reasons the applicant wishes to be the Caucus’s SCC Representative.

B. Specific personal goals as the Caucus SCC Representative.

C. History of involvement and active participation with the Caucus meetings and/or Caucus activities or causes/issues.

D. A strong commitment to attend the SCC and Caucus meetings.

Section 3 – Nomination packet deadlines. For verification purposes, the above nomination packet is due to the Caucus Secretary 10 days prior to the Special Steering Committee meeting.

ARTICLE NINE – CONSTRUCTION AND TERMS. If there is any conflict between the provisions of these bylaws and those of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, the Democratic Party of Hawaii bylaws shall govern. Should any of the provisions of these bylaws or portions thereof be held unenforceable or invalid, the remaining provisions of these bylaws shall be unaffected by such a finding.