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Colleen Hanabusa

Colleen Hanabusa served as Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District representative from January 2011 until January 2015.

Hanabusa was re-elected to her post on Nov. 6, 2012, defeating former Rep. Charles Djou by about 10 points.

On May 2, 2013, Hanabusa announced her campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by Brian Schatz. Schatz was appointed to the position in December 2012 following the death of Daniel K. Inouye; Inouye had asked Gov. Neil Abercrombie to appoint Hanabusa, his favored successor.

Hanabusa lost to Schatz by a narrow margin in the 2014 Democratic primary. Since leaving Congress, she has returned to her law practice. She also holds membership on the boards of Honolulu rail and the Gas Company, and in 2016 was named a lecturer and Daniel K. Inouye Visiting Scholar, a joint appointment shared between the Public Policy Center and the Political Science Department.

In Congress, Hanabusa served on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee. She also served as a number of subcommittees, and more than one dozen caucuses.

Hanabusa, a fourth-generation Japanese American, was born May 4, 1951, and was raised in Waianae on Oahu’s Leeward Coast. She earned a B.A. in economics and sociology and an M.A. in sociology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

In 1977 Hanabusa received a J.D. from the William S. Richardson School Law, a part of the Manoa campus. She has worked as a labor attorney for more than three decades.

In 1998 Hanabusa was elected to state Senate District 21, which covered Waianae, Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Maili, Makaha and Makua. During her 12 years in the Legislature, she served as chair of the Senate Committee on Water, Land and Agriculture, was a member of the Hawaiian Affairs Committee, and was vice-chairwoman of the Ways and Means Committee.

Hanabusa later served as Senate Majority Leader and in 2006 was named by her colleagues the Senate president. She was re-elected in 2008 to represent District 21 for another four-year term.

As Senate president, Hanabusa was the first woman to lead the chamber in Hawaii history and the first Asian-American woman to preside over a United States legislative body in the United States.

Hanabusa is a loyal Democrat, and rarely votes against her party’s majority. However, in her first eight months in Congress, Hanabusa crossed the aisle to vote with a Republican majority more often than any of her congressional colleagues from Hawaii. In the 5 percent of the time that Hanabusa voted with a Republican majority, it related to approving defense appropriations.

Few Tears Shed In Hawaii As Trump Dumps Pacific Trade Pact Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Few Tears Shed In Hawaii As Trump Dumps Pacific Trade Pact

The state’s congressional delegation opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but the state Chamber of Commerce expressed concerns.

What Would ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Mean For Military-Heavy Hawaii? Courtesy of Sen. Mazie Hirono

What Would ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis Mean For Military-Heavy Hawaii?

Former Marine Gen. James Mattis is likely headed for confirmation as defense secretary. He met Friday with Sen. Mazie Hirono.

Hanabusa Makes Her Escape From The Federal Building Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Hanabusa Makes Her Escape From The Federal Building

Seeking a more welcoming venue for her Honolulu office, she becomes the first member of the congressional delegation to move out.

Abe, Obama To Showcase ‘Power Of Reconciliation’ At Pearl Harbor White House

Abe, Obama To Showcase ‘Power Of Reconciliation’ At Pearl Harbor

The Dec. 27 visit will be the first by a Japanese head of state to visit the memorial to the attack that pulled the U.S. into World War II.

Hawaii Hasn’t Been This Short On Congressional Clout In Awhile Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Hawaii Hasn’t Been This Short On Congressional Clout In Awhile

“I don’t think Hawaii can expect any favors from the federal government anytime soon,” says one analyst.

Schatz, Gabbard, Hanabusa Win Big In Congressional Races Cory Lum/CIvil Beat

Schatz, Gabbard, Hanabusa Win Big In Congressional Races

Colleen Hanabusa will rejoin the congressional delegation after winning two races on the general election ballot.

Formby Would Serve As Hanabusa’s Chief of Staff In Congress Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Formby Would Serve As Hanabusa’s Chief of Staff In Congress

He’d be returning to federal service after working as a lawyer, city transportation director and HART interim director.

Shoo-In Candidates For Congress Raise Nearly $1M, Spend More Cory Lum/CIvil Beat

Shoo-In Candidates For Congress Raise Nearly $1M, Spend More

Brian Schatz, Tulsi Gabbard and Colleen Hanabusa are not worried about losing this year, but they are making moves for their future.

Hawaii Democrats To Challenge Kaaihue’s Candidacy Facebook

Hawaii Democrats To Challenge Kaaihue’s Candidacy

UPDATED: The Republican running for the 2nd Congressional District has filed to run as a Democrat in the special election to fill the 1st District seat.
Special Election Filing Period Eugene Tanner/Civil Beat

Special Election Filing Period

Candidates have started filing to run in the race to serve the remaining two months left on Congressman Mark Takai's term.
Schatz, Gabbard And Hanabusa Win Congressional Primaries Eugene Tanner/Civil Beat

Schatz, Gabbard And Hanabusa Win Congressional Primaries

Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard are running for re-election, while former Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is seeking to return to Congress.
Congressional Candidates Try To Stave Off A Hanabusa ‘Coronation’ Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Congressional Candidates Try To Stave Off A Hanabusa ‘Coronation’

The Democratic race to represent urban Oahu looks like a shoo-in for Colleen Hanabusa, but the list of candidates is long.