Our official history began on May, 10 1995, when a group of concerned Hawai’i citizens were invited to meet with consumer advocate Ralph Nader, founder of the national consumer organization Public Citizen.
Mr. Nader had traveled to Hawai’i from Washington D.C. with his protege, Harvey Rosenfield of California’s Consumer Watchdog to address the legislature and the public on the “no-fault” insurance crisis in Hawai’i and around the nation.
One year later, Hawai`i Advocates For Consumer Rights (AFCR) boasted a strong, working Board of Directors and with Hawai’i-based communications and political consultant Scott Foster as Executive Director, AFCR quickly built a formidable coalition and “trounced” a $500,000 pro-insurance industry media campaign with “less than a $40,000 budget.”
The no-holds-barred political battle waged on until a challenge to then Hawai`i Governor Benjamin Cayetano’s veto of yet another pro-insurance industry bill which had been drafted by the insurance industry. With the 1996 legislative session ending in a stalemate, the fight spilled over into the ensuing State House and Senate elections where AFCR played a decisive role in the removal of two powerful, corrupt, pro-insurance industry senators.
Finally in 1997, a consumer-friendly car insurance reform law was finally passed by Hawaii’s Legislature and signed into law by Governor Cayetano.
By 1999, Hawaii’s car insurance rates had dropped from the second highest in the nation to #20 – saving Hawai’i consumers “untold-millions” in premiums. Read the Pacific Business News story HERE.
AFCR has been a key organization working to reform numerous other consumer issues including the long effort to lower oil and electricity prices in Hawai’i and helping to pass Hawaii’s landmark “Bottle Bill” which initiated Hawaii’s recycling program. AFCR often testifies at the state legislature on banking, credit, environmental protection, antitrust, corporate welfare, energy, transportation, communications and utility regulation.
Communications Director, Scott Foster says, “Winning these hard-won battles has proven that organized and informed individuals can indeed make a significant difference. AFCR is limited only by the amount of energy and resources Hawaii’s enlightened consumers are willing to commit.”
Always on the forefront in the use of sophisticated communications systems, AFCR’s research and data-gathering capabilities coupled with the ability to “get the word out” have become renown.
Please consider joining our effort and help us to continue making a real difference.
NOTE: On November 26, 2015: The New York Times published a retrospective article about Ralph Nader, 50 Years Ago, Unsafe at Any Speed Shook the Auto World. Read the article HERE.