Hawaii Rep. Mark Takai delivered a letter to Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., Friday asking that “Aloha wear” be allowed on the House floor on Fridays. “Among partisan divide, the message of friendliness and compassion is an excellent reminder that we should rise above the bickering and pass real, meaningful legislation that benefits the American people,” the Democrat, whose office observes his state's Aloha Friday, said in a statement to HOH.
“Mr. Speaker, I urge you to allow Aloha shirts to be worn on the House floor on Fridays. Embracing the Aloha shirt will allow members to embrace the Aloha Spirit — something that Washington could use a little more of,” he added. The letter was also dated on a day the chamber was voting.
Since 1962, the letter stated, Hawaiians began wearing Aloha shirts in the workplace. “On the floor of the Hawaii State House and Senate, the Aloha Shirt is worn every Friday,” Takai informed the speaker. He served in the Hawaii state House for 20 years before running for Congress.
He includes a list of “American icons” who were fond of the Hawaiian-born shirts: Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Arthur Godfrey, President Harry S. Truman and President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The Aloha shirt represents a half-a-billion-dollar-a-year industry, according to the letter, and supports small business. Takai is a member of the House Small Business Committee.
For a starter shirt, may HOH suggest a classic Reyn Spooner shirt? If Takai is looking to curry further favor with Ryan, the shirtmaker has been known to crank out the occasional Green Bay Packer-themed frock.
— Reach AlexGangitano@cqrollcall.com and follow her on Twitter @AlexGangitano.
Correction 4:15 p.m.
A previous version of this article misstated how long Takai served in the Hawaii state House. He served 20 years.