Thirteen people want to replace Ed Case as the Congressional Representative for Hawai`i’s Second District—basically, the whole state except for urban Honolulu. The winner will hold sway over 1/435th of the U.S. House of Representatives, responsible for voting on taxes, Medicare, Social Security, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism and, naturally, tons of rich and cream pork barrel spending.
It’s a dream race, chock full of lots of solid, progressive choices, a few right-wing Bush apologists and a nutcase or two. Here are my tremendously condensed appreciations of them all, in alphabetical order and titled exactly as they appear on the ballot:
AIPOALANI, Hanalei Y.
A 27-year-old political neophyte who advocates more affordable housing. He lived in Northern California for the last seven years. Smart kid, but his only political experience seems to have been the year he spent on the late Congresswoman Patsy Mink’s staff.
This Honolulu City Councilman is an ex-KHON-TV news reporter who has voted to keep first-time, non-violent drug users out of prison. (For more on Garcia, see Better Know a Candidate in our June 26, 2006 issue)
A tough but respected labor attorney, Hanabusa opposes the Patriot Act, War in Iraq and Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act. (For more on Hanabusa, see Better Know a Candidate on page 14 of this issue)
Hee represented Molokai in the state House in the early 1980s, then in 1984 moved on to a state Senate seat for windward Oahu. He lost his 1988 reelection bid, but won the seat back in 2002. He considers himself a “tough guy,” but also feels the U.S. should get the hell out of Iraq.
HIRONO, Mazie K.
A longtime state legislator and Lt. Gov., Hirono has the greatest name recognition in this race, mostly because in 2002 Linda Lingle trounced her in the governor’s race. Endorsed by Emily’s List, an extremely influential Political Action Committee dedicated to raising gobs of money for liberal, pro-choice women across the nation, Hirono is a serious contender.
A Republican state Senator and 7 columnist (he writes about youth sports and such), Hogue spent a dozen years doing the sports at KHON-TV (see GARCIA, Nestor above). He believes that if the U.S. left Iraq, “the insurgents would be emboldened.” (For more on Hogue, see Better Know a Candidate in our Aug. 3, 2006 issue)
HOOSER, Gary K.
A progressive state Senator from Kauai, Hooser has endorsements from Sierra Club Hawai`i and Graham Nash. He wants more attention paid to Hawai`i’s rural and agricultural issues.
KAWANANAKOA, Quentin Kuhio
A Republican state Representative in the 1990s, Kawananakoa is a also a James M. Campbell Estate beneficiary, which means he’s got a nearly inexhaustible supply of big money to draw on. He’s right wing, but no more so that President George W. Bush.
The son of the late, legendary U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga, Matt is a liberal, former state Senator who lost his 2002 bid to be Lt. Gov. He wants U.S. troops out of Iraq and more work done to lower ever-rising healthcare costs. (For more on Matsunaga, see Better Know a Candidate in our July 27, 2006 issue)
A current state Senator and former state Representative, Menor is the father of the state’s abortive experiment with a gasoline price cap. His work in the state Legislature has always tilted towards the consumer, and he thinks No Child Left Behind is dumb.
An eight-year veteran of the state House—he first got elected at age 26—Schatz is a former CEO of Helping Hands Hawai`i, one of the state’s biggest non-profit organizations dealing with social services. Earlier this year he tried to get the National Security Agency to detail their spying on Hawai`i residents and would prefer to see U.S. troops leave Iraq. (For more on Schatz, see Better Know a Candidate in our Aug. 31, 2006 issue)
WILCOX, Robert K., IV
This is some guy who’s not affiliated with any party and didn’t want to talk to me or any other reporter about his views or candidacy. Probably in the race just to get chicks.
Zuiker doesn’t like the war in Iraq or money in politics and has spent much of the campaign literally running around the islands. (For more on Zuiker, see Better Know a Candidate in our Aug. 18, 2006 issue) MTW