A gay man has beaten the president of a Proud Boys chapter to become the only openly LGBT+ person in Hawaii’s house of representatives.
Adrian Tam made history by beating Proud Boys member Nick Ochs in District 22 in Hawaii, covering Waikiki, Ala Moana and Kakaako on Oahu. He was elected with 63 per cent of the vote in a stunning victory.
Tam, a 28-year-old gay politician, told The Daily Beast that he was not worried for his own safety on the campaign trail, but he said he was concerned for his supporters and volunteers.
“Fortunately, nothing bad happened. We were met with happiness and joy by people,” he said.
Gay politician Adrian Tam was targeted by ‘insults and attacks’ by Proud Boys member in the lead up to election.
“As a first-time candidate, like many first-time candidates, there may have been a little anxiety going into it. I am just grateful that we won, the anxiety is lifted.
“Now the hard work begins today,” he added, saying he plans to focus on issues such as homelessness, public safety, condominiums, coronavirus and the economy.
I am grateful for this opportunity that was given to me by the voters, and I promise I am going to work hard for them.
Throughout the campaign, Tam was targeted with “insults and attacks” by Ochs’ campaign, but he said they responded by staying “on message, with the plans and ideas we had to move Hawaii forward”.
“I’m really glad our message got through, and the community voted resoundingly to send me to the legislature,” Tam added.
“I am grateful for this opportunity that was given to me by the voters, and I promise I am going to work hard for them.”
Tam said he is relieved that people in Hawaii rejected the message of the Proud Boys by not voting Ochs into government.
“Groups like these will always exist, but it’s up to us to not only tune them out, but to get our message out there and change minds so more people don’t join them,” he said.
Ochs had his campaign’s Facebook page deleted by the social media giant in September for violating its terms of service and community standards.
He also faced condemnation from the Democratic Party of Hawaii, which denounced him for his “history of offensive posts on social media about the Black, Jewish and LGBT communities, as well as a video showing Ochs urinating into active lava fissure at the Kilauea volcano.”