"All that harms labor is treason to America. No line can be drawn between these two. If any man tells you he loves America, yet he hates labor, he is a liar. If a man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool."
The entire political process through which the people of Hawai'i elect their public officials is at the very heart of the democratic system. It affects the life of everyone in the State, the laws that govern us, the taxes we pay, the services our government provides.
The Hawaiʻi State AFL-CIO believes that all citizens have the right and the responsibility to take part in the political affairs of their community, their state and their nation. For that reason, the Committee on Political Education (C.O.P.E.) was established.
C.O.P.E. has encouraged thousands of union members to take part in public life through programs of political education and political action whose goals are better law makers, better laws, better government, and a better life for all the people of Hawaiʻi.
Since a Democracy can only work when the people are informed and vote, C.O.P.E.'s primary functions are to provide year-round programs of political education for union members and to conduct statewide non-partisan registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns. Indeed, at each election we help thousands of previously non-voting union members and their families to register, then to exercise their franchise to vote. The C.O.P.E. staff prepares leaflets, posters and research materials for elections including voting records on key issues of all state legislators and the state Congressional Delegation.
Hawaiʻi's C.O.P.E. cooperates with the national C.O.P.E. and conforms to its policies but is not a branch or subsidiary of the national C.O.P.E. The Hawai'i State C.O.P.E. makes its own endorsements of candidates for Governor, U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, Hawaiʻi State Senators and Representatives, and other state and county officers.
The sole endorsement at the national level comes in presidential contests and is made by the General Board of the AFL-CIO, then implemented by the national C.O.P.E. in cooperation with state and central labor council and C.O.P.E.