by Hawaii Alliance for Retired Americans and Kokua Council
Beginning in 2008, the Hawaii Alliance for Retired Americans (HARA) and Kokua Council present their Shining Light Awards to individuals and organizations who have been strong advocates for seniors, demonstrating an understanding of the important issues.
This year, the groups honored two men who represent very different advocacy traditions.
John Radcliffe has been a long-time labor leader and lobbyist for a variety of clients and causes. Recently, his personal struggle with a life-threatening illness transformed him into a passionate and effective advocate for Death with Dignity legislation. His frequent public testimony about his personal challenge is authentic and poignant.
John McDermott has been Hawai‘i’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman since 1998, protecting the state’s most vulnerable adults. Some of his major accomplishments include legislation requiring criminal background checks for those having contact with vulnerable adults, legislation requiring that annual inspection and complaint results for care facilities be posted on the state Department of Health website, and legislation restoring a fulltime ombudsman for O‘ahu and approving part-time ombudsman positions for other islands.
HARA and Kokua Council present these awards annually at their annual post-legislative session review called “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.”
HARA and Kokua Council are part of the growing number of community-driven senior advocacy groups that pay particular attention to public policy, following important pieces of legislation, meeting with legislators and staff, and providing testimony on a wide range of issues.
The review provides an opportunity for legislators to remind us of the good they have done — but also provides advocates a chance to remind elected officials what still needs to be accomplished.
This year’s meeting was a candid, open and respectful review. Concerns about the legislative process, community program oversight, quality-control systems and effectiveness were also aired.
Both organizations are always seeking more members and participants in their activities.
KOKUA COUNCIL at Harris United Methodist Church
20 South Vineyard Blvd., Honolulu HI 96813
Jim Shon, Kokua Council President | 808-540-1928