By Anthony Pignataro
Today he’s managing attorney with the Honolulu law firm of Bays, Lung, Rose & Holma, but from 2002 to 2007 Ed Case was a U.S. Congressman, representing Hawaii’s Second District. In 2006, Case gave up his very safe seat in the U.S. House to run against U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka. He never got close to the nomination, but now that Akaka is retiring, the ideologically moderate Case is once again a declared candidate in the 2012 race to be a U.S. Senator. On Aug. 26, Case met with essociate editor Anu Yagi and me for a chat about the race.
MAUITIME: Thanks for agreeing to meet with us. Why are you running for Senate?
ED CASE: I’m running for three reasons. This is Hawaii’s opportunity and obligation to choose which direction they want for a U.S. Senator. In all likelihood, whoever takes over will lead the Hawaii delegation. It’s a generational change. Second, the country is in a mess. The rating of Congress right now is 17 percent—who is the 17 percent who thinks it’s okay? And third, every Senate seat is crucial.
What’s the biggest issue facing the U.S. today?
The economy and jobs. If you don’t have a solid economy then people don’t have jobs and we can’t afford to sustain our social programs or protect our environment. We have very limited options to dig ourselves out of this puka.
What are our options?
We can start with balancing the budget. Washington is stuck in a constant crusade of extremes. It’s just a bunch of people yelling at each other. If you listen, they say you either raise taxes or cut spending. I say do both, and that upsets people. The Bush tax cuts can’t be sustained. Some people call that a tax increase. I call it letting bad tax cuts expire. I think the vast majority of this island, state and county don’t like government by battle, and don’t like partisan gridlock. You may not like 100 percent of what you get from me, but you will get a solution.
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Is the world a better place now?
I don’t think the world has become a better place in the last 10 years, but I don’t want to pin all that on Sept. 11. Are we better off in terms of peace? I don’t think so. Better off in terms of the environment? Absolutely not! Long term threats? No, we’re not. We’re still in two wars, and China’s not been dealt with. In terms of Sept. 11, we, at a terrible price, have prevented another terrorist attack. We do need to recognize that.
How do you define that “terrible price?”
Al Qaeda directly led us into a war in Afghanistan. I think we had to do that. It indirectly led us into war in Iraq. We’ve spent one to two trillion dollars on those wars. And that’s what we know about.
We finish up by asking all candidates what they read. What do you read?
I read a lot of biography and history. I love reading about leaders, why things happen. Right now I’m reading War by Sebastian Junger and How the Irish Saved Civilization. I haven’t converted to electronic stuff—I still read books. There’s something claustrophobic about sitting there with a device. It’s a little uncomfortable. I just want to thumb the thing, though I’m sure I’ll switch at some point. I also read the Economist and Christian Science Monitor—stuff I hope is more objective. National Geographic, too.
This article is part of an occasional series in which candidates for public office sit down with the MauiTime editorial board. Candidates should send an email to [email protected] for more information.