An epic journey. A “pinful” and educational conference. An insightful look as to how one state is getting their high schoolers into college. Your opinion, please!

I’m back; I’m blessed; and I’m glad to be back home. This newsletter is long so bear with me.

Part 1: My husband and I embarked on our 40-day epic journey (the ultimate road trip, Ibelieve) that took us to two Canadian provinces (Alberta and British Columbia), six states (Washington, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and California), covering 4,500 miles. Along the way, we viewed incredible glaciers; saw jaw-dropping beautiful mountains; turquoise blue lakes (both icy and thermal); and forests that stretched for what seemed a gazillion miles. We passed through incredible farm lands both small and massive; we noticed farms abandoned; towns thriving; towns on the brink of dying; and we drove on roads so harrowing we held our breaths; roads so desolate and eerie; and roads so gorgeous and stunning they seemed ethereal. We were so thankful for the good weather, being healthy, and being accident-free. More importantly, we both now have a profound respect for our truckers and farmers.

This journey was not only about fulfilling our bucket lists by visiting some of the national parks we were anxious to see, but we also wanted to learn about the various ecosystems. Three takeaways: the glaciers are receding (and there are photos proving they are); the pine bark beetles are devastating and killing pine trees in Canada and the U.S. by the millions(!); and we were educated about the Great Continental Divide’s importance to the continental U.S.’s major waterways.

I was particularly ecstatic and relieved to see that “Ginormous,” a redwood, was still strong and thriving in Stout Grove (a picture is attached). When we first visited the place 2.5 years ago, and I first laid eyes on him, I was enthralled by his incredible enormity and height; simply put, he captured my heart. He is 1,500 years-old, over 300 feet high, and I hope he stands mightily for many more centuries. In 1929, Mrs. Clara Stout, in honor of her late husband, Frank D. Stout, donated the 44-acre grove to the Save-the-Redwoods League, thus saving those magnificent redwoods from the logging industry.

We met so many people that somehow had a connection to Hawaii: they were born and raised here but moved to the mainland; they honeymooned here; they served in the military here; they vacationed here; and everyone had nothing but good things to say about our islands. Hawaii was No Ka Oi, no matter where we traveled!

Some notes I would like to share:

1. The lodges at Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons National Parks hire college students and adults for summer work usually from May to September (because they are closed during the winter, except for Yellowstone. I think Yellowstone has one lodge open all year long). Therefore, if you know of any adventurous person, have them apply on-line. The seasonal employees get room and board (they pay a nominal fee), get paid, and get to meet new friends from all over the world. They also get time off, so they can go hiking and exploring!

2. Google Maps are not always accurate!!! Jack brought an updated Road Atlas, which came in handy, because Maps got off-track, literally! After Maps got us lost, we were handwriting directions after, just in case.

3. We did not have internet for about 10 days! So, it is good to confirm that your lodging has wi-fi.

4. It is important to know, too, about laundry facilities. We ended up driving 35 miles to Kalispell, Montana, because West Glacier had no laundromat.

5. If you want to stay at lodges inside the National Parks, reservations should be made one year plus one day in advance. Remember, you’re competing with other people from around the world for rooms!

Part 2: Five days after we returned from our journey, I travelled to Indianapolis to attend The National Federation of Republican Women’s (“NFRW”) 40th Biennial Convention held the latter part of September. Included on the agenda was a meeting of all the State Presidents. My gifts of macadamia nuts were appreciated by all the women in attendance at that meeting, but they were more excited knowing Hawaii had presence! The President of the Hawaii Federation of Republican Women (“HFRW”) is also a member of the Board of Directors of the NFRW.

The convention included some very notable speakers, among others, such as:

Ronna McDaniel, Chairwoman, Republican National Committee
Ohio Congressman Adam Kinzinger
Rebecca Kleefisch, Executive Director, Women’s Suffrage Centennial Committee
Kayleigh McEnandy, National Press Secretary, Donald J. Trump for President

Most importantly, Vice President Pence was a surprise guest at the Regents Dinner (my budget did not allow me to attend). I knew someone very important was going to be present because security at the hotel was incredibly tight. Police and their K9s and Secret Service personnel were all over the hotel.

The exciting part was at the main session of the convention. The State Presidents were given their respective state flags, then we paraded up to the front of the crowd. And, there I was, center stage, proudly waving my Hawaii flag…in the midst of these very tall, elegant and accomplished ladies! Did I mention that there were close to 800 Republican women in attendance? 800 Republican women! Impressive!

Another thing I learned is that exchanging pins so they can be attached to your lanyard is a BIG, BIG fun thing. Everyone kept asking me for my Hawaii pin; but I sadly told them I was not aware of that wonderful tradition, and I didn’t bring any. There was, indeed, much disappointment, but at least I know now…we now know…that pins are important to bring! A picture of my lanyard is attached.

Like all conventions, we did conduct business. A slate of officers for 2020-2021 were elected; some bylaws and resolutions were voted on and amended; the Treasurer gave her report; and, a vote to increase membership dues by $10.00 effective January 2020 was overwhelmingly voted in, even though there was much debate. This was the first dues increase in 10 years. With that in mind, the HFRW’s new dues will be $35.00 per year per member, with $20 from each member’s dues going to the NFRW. The dues for a member-at-large was increased to $75 per year.

The NFRW is on a mission to STOP THE SQUAD and get more Republican women elected to Congress in 2020. With that in mind, the organization is currently taking contributions to help accomplish its goal. I’m sure there will be many qualified candidates.

The Regional Director responsible for Hawaii, the Dakotas, Kansas, Alaska, Nebraska, and Montana, Eileen Sobjack, became the NFRW’s new 1st Vice President. It is my great hope that she will become the next President. Please see the photo of the Region 3 State Presidents with Eileen, standing at the far right.

I attended an excellent training session put on by the Leadership Institute; I will include my notes on the HFRW website as a permanent document.

The organization, Frontiers of Freedom, discussed “Big Challenges in the Fight for Freedom and Liberty.” My notes (although brief) of the topics talked about are below:

1. John Fund, National Affairs Reporter, National Review, talked about Big Tech threatening our privacy. Amazon bought Ring. (There is a good article on the internet you can read as to why Amazon bought Ring.) There are neighborhood news programs with cameras everywhere. Siri keeps recording conversations to teach artificial intelligence. Know what you’re getting.

2. Shipping and The Jones Act. Congressman Ernest Iztook (Ret.), President, Americans for Less Regulation, spoke about the shipping cartel that threatens America. If you look at who controls the economy, it’s the shipping industry because 90 percent of all goods travel by ships; 90 percent of the world trade is through shipping. There are 40,000 ships worldwide; America’s fleet total 182 ships. There are 2,873 cargo ships being built; we are building 8; China is building 1,300. Sadly, less than 1 percent of all the world’s ships are American. Most ships belong to China. While many favor the repeal of the Jones Act, if we ended it, we would surrender to China. We should not allow “unfriendly” countries to purchase our ports as in the case of Long Beach. This is similar to the fact that we don’t allow foreign airlines to fly domestic flights. He also noted that we removed our dependence on foreign oil.

3. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals aka PETA is radical. If PETA has it their way, there won’t be ANY medical advancement because they vehemently oppose any type of animal testing, although there are strict protocols in place when animal testing is performed. In short, Mr. George Landrith, President, Frontiers of Freedom, posted a quote that basically said PETA “would rather have babies and women used for testing, rather than animals.”

Part 3. After the convention, I flew to Tennessee to visit my daughter and her family. My eldest granddaughter will be graduating from high school in 2021, and I learned that because her GPA in high school is high, she will qualify for scholarships provided by the Tennessee lottery. Yes, the lottery. The Tennessee lottery was established to provide scholarships to freshmen entering postsecondary institutions. The requirement is that the student be a resident of Tennessee for one year and will be enrolled in a qualifying university or college (either a 4-year institution or 2-year institution) in Tennessee within 16 months of graduating from high school. To qualify, they must score a 21 on the ACT or 1060 on the SAT, or, have a cumulative 3.0 GPA in high school. During their freshmen and sophomore college years, the student is awarded $1,750 per semester if they maintain a GPA of at least 2.75 GPA. The award moves up to $2,250 per semester for junior and seniors who also maintain a GPA of 2.75 or higher.

With student loan forgiveness a national issue, I pondered this for a long time: A lottery to pay for scholarships.

Perhaps it is time for Hawaii to have a lottery, either for scholarships; or to assist Hawaii households with electric credits; or possibly help pay for the rail. All I know is that It is working well in the Volunteer State.

Until my next newsletter, remember to always be awesome, inspiring to others, and stay safe!

Blessings to you and your family,

Donna Van Osdol
President, Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

P.S. I’m a grandmother, again! My first grandson, Enzo, was born on October 1 to my son, Damien, and his wife, Alexis. Enzo has my dimple!

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