The Hawaii State Senate Recognizes Art Frank and Al Lewis for Their Outstanding Advocacy

This article was first published in 21maile on 4/7/15 by Stacy Garcia Jr.

Hawaii Senate Group Photo with Awardees

Hawaii Senate Group Photo with Awardees. Bottom row L-R: Senate President Mercado Kim, Sen. Thielen, Sen. Galuteria, Florence Mae Bowes Lewis, David Lewis, Susan Frank-Kama, Gwen Ahana, Carolyn & Art Frank, Sen. Shimabukuro, Sen. Kidani, Sen. Chun-Oakland, Sen. Taniguchi, Sen. Green, and Sen. Kahele. Top row L-R: Sen. Gabbard, Sen. Harimoto, Sen. Espero, Sen. Ruderman, Sen. Riviere, Sen. Dela Cruz, Sen. English, Sen. Keith-Agaran, Sen. Ihara, Sen. Inouye, Sen. Wakai, Sen. Tokuda, Sen. Nishihara, Sen. Baker, & Sen. Kouchi. [Click Images to Enlarge]

20150401_112206 20150401_121607 Nancyann Mickey, Art Frank, Ruth Wai Paaoao, and Sen. ShimabukuroAdditional photos of the Floor Presentation may be found at this link:

https://maileswaianaecoastphotos.shutterfly.com/3066

ART FRANK FLOOR PRESENTATION

Speech Delivered by Senator Maile Shimabukuro, 4/1/15

Art Frank, who is deaf and suffers from quadriparesis, is someone who has defied all the odds and served Hawaii’s community in countless ways. He has had a long and active role with the disabled community, on the Wai’anae Coast, and with the Hawaii Democratic Party.

In 1981, Mr. Frank spent five years lobbying for a bill which allows deaf individuals to attend government meetings and request a sign language interpreter or communication access real time translation, also known as “CART.” He also worked tirelessly to ensure that Capitol restrooms were ADA compliant, and that disabled parking was afforded to disabled visitors at the capitol, enduring 27 parking tickets in the process.

Mr. Frank has also testified in support of measures to benefit the Wai`anae Coast. He has come to the Capitol on short notice, numerous times, to speak out in favor of measures to help alleviate traffic and otherwise improve conditions for the west side. He also attends neighborhood board and other community meetings and events aimed at bettering the lives of those on the Wai`anae Coast. 

Mr. Frank, along with his dear friend who we are also honoring today, Al Lewis, has been a devoted member of the Democratic Party for decades. Mr. Frank and Mr. Lewis have volunteered countless hours for many campaigns. I met both of them on the campaign trail, and was deeply inspired by their positive energy, enthusiasm, and sense of humor. Mr. Frank, who resides on the Wai`anae Coast, and Mr. Lewis, who hails from Waimanalo, have volunteered for campaigns spanning the island, going as far as the opposite side of the island to support the candidates they believe in.

Raised in Waimanalo, Mr. Frank graduated from St. Louis high school, and is proud of his Hawaiian and “chop suey” heritage. He jokes that he met his devoted wife, Carolyn, in the shower. In fact, she was his nurse, and the first time they met happened to be in the shower of his hospital room. Since being married, Carolyn learned sign language and has always been Mr. Frank’s rock. Carolyn has supported all of her husband’s many community activities, and kept the home fires burning during the many hours he has spent away from home serving his community.

The fact that we are honoring Mr. Frank and Mr. Lewis on April 1, April Fools Day, couldn’t be more appropriate. Both are always cracking jokes and pranks, and together they brought double the laughter to all in their company. Mr. Frank told me that he once proved his point about the inadequacy of the Capitol’s bathrooms for the disabled by hurling a roll of toilet paper to the ceiling. That’s the kind of comic relief we need more of at the Capitol.

I wanted to end by expressing my heartfelt thanks to Mr. Frank. He was like an angel sent down from the heavens in my time of need. The devotion and time he has spent supporting me, and the belief that he had in me, were instrumental in getting me to where I am today, and I will forever be grateful. Now that I have met Mr. Frank, whenever I feel that my troubles are overwhelming, I often think of him. And once he pops into my head I can’t help but smile. I don’t think Mr. Frank, who is deaf and suffers from quadriparesis, has ever spent a minute feeling sorry for himself. Instead, he is a man who understands how precious life is, and has chosen to use every ounce of his energy to try and make the world a better place.

Would Art Frank please stand to be recognized.

Accompanying Mr. Frank on the floor are his wife and sisters. Would each of you please stand when I call your name, and audience please hold your applause until I have introduced all floor guests: Carolyn Frank, Gwen Ahana, and Susan Frank-Kama.

Also here for Mr. Frank in the gallery are some of his relatives and friends, including some from the deaf community. Audience, please hold your applause while I introduce our gallery guests, and please stand when I call your name: Representative Jo Jordan, Ruth “Wai” Paaoao; Kukana Kama-Toth; Dr. Lawrence Redmond, D.C.; Jesse and Debbie Jackson; Rev. David and Juanita Schiewek; Dante Carpenter; Nancyann Micky; Wilfred Soong; Ed Chevy; Linda and Jeff Lemrecht; Billy Kekua; Darlene Ewan; Colleen Adade; Lisa Tom; and Patty Sakal.

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