For the second election cycle in a row, a strong challenge to an incumbent Democratic Hawaii governor from inside the party.
It hasn’t been a year yet since Hanabusa was sworn-in at our nation’s capitol following the death of Congressman Mark Takai. But today, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa has her eye on another office, the Governor for the State of Hawaii.
Yesterday, Hanabusa announced the formation of her campaign committee “Hanabusa for Governor.”
Today, KHON2 sat down with Hanabusa, who calls herself a fighter.
Hanabusa says her decision is based on what her constituents want, and she says she thinks Hawaii is ready for a leader who knows how to make tough decisions.
“My decision is made on how do I best serve the people, and I believe that the voters who have supported me over the years — that we’ve been on this amazing journey — and they have invested in me from all the different opportunities that I have gained from that. And now it is my time to use this information, the knowledge that they have so kindly made accessible to me like the Congress of the United States, I can now use that for their benefit,” Hanabusa said.
In the past, Hanabusa has called herself a fighter and said she’s passionate about tackling tough issues. KHON2 asked her to highlight the issues that concern her most.
“Every time we’re talking about homelessness, we’re talking about education, we’re talking about infrastructure,” Hanabusa said. “Once I’ve decided on a particular issue, I will fight for that. That’s what people want. They want effective leadership, and they do want somebody who’s a fighter and somebody who’s passionate and somebody who can make decisions.”
“I’m also someone that people think will do the very heavy lifting on difficult issues they can always expect from me, and they will get an answer and a decision,” Hanabusa continued.
Hanabusa says that, in the end, it’s really up to the voters.
“They’re going to look at where we are, what we’ve done, our records, the experience that we have and… you know… who do they feel, especially on the west side, right, who do they feel represented them in the capacity that they’d like to see the governorship continue in,” Hanabusa said.
KHON2 reached out to Governor Ige’s office today for comment, but they declined.
Ige’s people released a statement yesterday after Hanabusa’s announcement came out saying the governor welcomes her entry into the race.
“I welcome the Congresswoman’s entry into the governor’s race. I look forward to giving voters the opportunity to compare our records of achievement and visions for the future. I hope to build on the solid foundation my administration has established in our first three years.”
The Hawaii Republican Party response
Republican state lawmaker Andria Tupola, who also represents Oahu’s west side, said that under Hanabusa it would be more of the same.
“I feel like Hawaii needs a change from career politicians. I feel like we’ve seen a lot of tax hikes, a lot of burdens on local families. We definitely need a new direction and I think it’s going to come from somebody who hasn’t been stuck in the system doing things the same way,” Tupola said.
Tupola has not announced her candidacy for Governor, but has indicated she may.
The filing period for the 2018 election cycle begins on February 1, 2018.