Colleen Hanabusa

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Colleen Hanabusa, who formerly served as president of the state Senate and was a congresswoman from 2011 to 2015, won two elections in November of 2016 — one to complete the term of Rep. Mark Takai, who died in July, and another to serve a full two-year term beginning in January of 2017.

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

Hanabusa lost to Schatz by a narrow margin in a bitter fought 2014 Democratic primary. After leaving Congress, she returned to her law practice. She also held membership on the boards of Honolulu rail and the Gas Company, and in 2016 was named a lecturer and the Inouye Visiting Scholar, a joint appointment shared between the University of Hawaii 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 on 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 her degree 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 Hawaii 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, she 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.

When Mark Takai decided not to run for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in May of 2015 after learning that his cancer had spread, he endorsed Hanabusa in June. He died in July of pancreatic cancer.

It was the second time a dying statesman hand-picked Hanabusa to be his successor.

When Abercrombie’s decision set the stage for a bitter primary fight between Schatz and Hanabusa, the sitting senator edged the former congresswoman by 1,782 votes, less than 1 percent of all ballots cast.

She is married to John Souza.

Colleen Hanabusa

February 2018

Wednesday, February 14

Congressional Budget Deal Likely Means More Federal Money For Hawaii

January 2018

Wednesday, January 31

Ige Leads Hanabusa In Campaign Fundraising For Governor’s Race

Tuesday, January 30

Hawaii Praises And Pans Trump Speech

Wednesday, January 24

Gabbard Shakes Up Governor’s Race By Endorsing Hanabusa

Monday, January 22

Hawaii Delegation Splits Its Votes As Government Shutdown Ends

Wednesday, January 10

Hanabusa Should Follow Her Own Advice And Resign

Monday, January 8

Hanabusa Launches Campaign With Swipe At ‘Rudderless’ Ige

Thursday, January 4

Chad Blair: Why Colleen Hanabusa Can’t Sit Still

December 2017

Wednesday, December 20

Hawaii Delegates Speak Out Against GOP Tax Bill ‘Scam’

November 2017

Thursday, November 30

Neal Milner: Inner-Party Squabbles Could Shake Up Governor’s Race

October 2017

Thursday, October 19

GOP Rep. Andria Tupola To Run For Hawaii Governor

September 2017

Friday, September 1

Hanabusa Gears Up For Gubernatorial Race Against Ige

August 2017

Friday, August 11

Hanabusa Considering Run For Hawaii Governor

July 2017

Thursday, July 20

Gabbard Rakes In Far More Campaign Cash Than Hanabusa

June 2017

Tuesday, June 13

Hawaii Leaders Say State Is Under ‘Attack’ With Loss Of Federal Funds

Thursday, June 1

Pulling Out Of Climate Accord Will Hit Hawaii Hard, Officials Say

April 2017

Tuesday, April 18

Campaign Cash Flowing To Hawaii’s Congresswomen

March 2017

Friday, March 10

Why A Big Boost In US Sea Power Could Be A Boon For Hawaii

January 2017

Monday, January 23

Few Tears Shed In Hawaii As Trump Dumps Pacific Trade Pact

Friday, January 6

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

December 2016

Friday, December 30

Hanabusa Makes Her Escape From The Federal Building

Monday, December 5

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

November 2016

Tuesday, November 15

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

Tuesday, November 8

Schatz, Gabbard, Hanabusa Win Big In Congressional Races

Wednesday, November 2

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

October 2016

Thursday, October 27

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

August 2016

Friday, August 26

Hawaii Democrats To Challenge Kaaihue’s Candidacy

Wednesday, August 17

Special Election Filing Period

Saturday, August 13

Schatz, Gabbard And Hanabusa Win Congressional Primaries

Wednesday, August 10

Congressional Candidates Try To Stave Off A Hanabusa ‘Coronation’

July 2016

Wednesday, July 20

How Two Different People Could Win The Same US House Seat

Tributes Pour In After Death of Congressman Mark Takai

Sunday, July 17

Gabbard: $1.9M Cash On Hand

Sunday, July 10

EMILY’s List Supports Hanabusa

June 2016

Wednesday, June 15

Former Hawaii Congresswoman Backs GOP Candidate Against Hanabusa

Friday, June 3

Takai Endorses Hanabusa

Thursday, June 2

Honolulu Charter Commission Sees ‘Urgent’ Need For Rail Changes

Wednesday, June 1

Lei Ahu Isa For Congress

May 2016

Sunday, May 29

Takai Indicates Support For Hanabusa

Tuesday, May 24

HART Has Bigger Problems Than Utilities

Hanabusa To Run For Takai’s Seat In Congress?

Monday, May 16

Future of Honolulu Rail Uncertain After Feds Say It Might Cost $8.1B

April 2016

Thursday, April 21

Hanabusa Takes Over As Chairwoman Of Honolulu Rail Board

December 2015

Monday, December 21

Gov. David Ige: Is Being Hawaii’s Engineer In Chief Good Enough For Now?

June 2015

Monday, June 1

Hanabusa Picked to Help Monitor Honolulu Rail Project

March 2015

Wednesday, March 25

Hawaii Monitor: Ethics Commission Ruling Draws Teachers’ Union Lawsuit

August 2014

Tuesday, August 19

Hanabusa Won’t Challenge US Senate Election Results

Friday, August 15

Hawaii Primary: Schatz Hangs On To Win US Senate Race

Sunday, August 10

Will Hanabusa’s Push in Puna Be Enough?

Saturday, August 9

Hawaii US Senate: Schatz Leads Hanabusa — Slightly

May 2014

Saturday, May 24

Ad Watch: Hanabusa Hits the TV Airwaves, Touts Local Upbringing

Thursday, May 22

Ad Watch: Hanabusa Airs First Ad, Highlighting her Hawaii Roots

April 2014

Friday, April 25

Campaign Cash Advantage: Schatz’s Edge Over Hanabusa Is Paying Off

Thursday, April 17

Did Sen. Brian Schatz Score Big Political Points With Climate Summit?

Saturday, April 12

Ad Watch: Schatz Touts Equal Pay for Women in Latest TV Spot

Wednesday, April 9

Hanabusa Vs. Schatz — Will Voting Records Matter to Hawaii?

March 2014

Friday, March 21

The Middle Man: Hawaii’s Brian Schatz Zeroes In On Working Families

January 2014

Friday, January 10

Report Cards for Hawaii’s D.C. Delegates: How’d They Do?

December 2013

Sunday, December 22

Will Hawaii Voters Buy Colleen Hanabusa’s Campaign Pitch?

November 2013

Thursday, November 21

Why Hasn’t Hanabusa Raised More Money For Hawaii Senate Campaign?

October 2013

Monday, October 21

Civil Beat Poll — Schatz Has Narrow Lead Over Hanabusa

August 2013

Monday, August 12

Hawaii’s Hanging Chad: Tweets from the Holy Land

July 2013

Tuesday, July 23

Who’s Backing Who for Hawaii’s U.S. Senate Seat?

June 2013

Friday, June 28

Civil Beat Poll – A Year Out, Hawaii Senate Race Up For Grabs

A House Divided — Which Way Will Democrats in Hawaii Go?

Saturday, June 22

Can Inouye’s Ghost Take Down Sen. Brian Schatz?

May 2013

Friday, May 31

Off The Beat: A Memorable Memorial Suggestion

Thursday, May 23

Schatz Carries On Inouye Dream For Native American Memorial

Hanabusa And Schatz Differ Over Making Drug Companies Pay

Thursday, May 16

Hawaii Delegation Backs Reforms Against Military Sexual Assaults

Maui Tea Party Group: IRS Intimidated Us

Tuesday, May 14

Micronesian Windfall? Hawaii Could Get $40M From Feds

Saturday, May 4

Senate Race Just Begun, But It’s All About Inouye

April 2013

Thursday, April 25

Handicapping The Race To Replace Hanabusa

Wednesday, April 24

National Political Analysts Give Schatz The Edge

March 2013

Wednesday, March 6

Gabbard Breaks With Democrats On Republican Budget Bill

December 2012

Wednesday, December 26

Why Abercrombie Didn’t Pick Hanabusa

Friday, December 21

Two U.S. Presidents, Other Dignitaries, Remember Inouye in Washington

Thursday, December 20

Who Wants To Be A U.S. Senator?

Thursday, December 6

DC808: On the Wire — Closing The Deal

November 2012

Thursday, November 1

Checking the Fact Check: Djou Claim on Small Business Vote is False

October 2012

Monday, October 29

Civil Beat Poll – Hanabusa Expands Lead Over Djou In Race for Congress

Thursday, October 4

Civil Beat Poll – Dems Lead Congress Races

September 2012

Wednesday, September 26

Hanabusa Takes Round One in Djou Rematch

Thursday, September 13

Quiet Rematch For Hawaii’s 1st District Seat

July 2012

Wednesday, July 18

Djou and Hanabusa On The Issues

Colleen Hanabusa Answers Congressional District 1 Survey

Hanabusa Raises — and Spends — More Than Djou

June 2012

Friday, June 15

Who’s the Wealthiest Member of Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation?

May 2012

Sunday, May 20

The Grand Illusion: Endless Money For Weapons and War

Friday, May 11

Djou: I Accepted No PAC Money Last Quarter

March 2012

Friday, March 23

Hanabusa Rejects ‘Loan Shark’ Allegation

Thursday, March 8

Hawaii Candidates Play Chicken on Disclosing Their Tax Returns

February 2012

Sunday, February 5

Hanabusa, Djou Each Start 2012 With $300K In Bank

Wednesday, February 1

Hanabusa Made Most Trips to Hawaii Last Year

January 2012

Wednesday, January 25

Obama’s Blueprint for Energy, Defense Could Mean Jobs in Hawaii

Thursday, January 19

Hawaii Speaks Out Against Piracy Bill

December 2011

Wednesday, December 28

Big Changes in Store for Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation

Friday, December 23

2011 Year in Review — DC808

Wednesday, December 21

Hawaii Reps Blast Obama Administration on ‘Plan B’

Tuesday, December 13

Inouye No. 1 Among Hawaii Delegates in Estimated Net Worth

November 2011

Wednesday, November 23

How Hawaii Reps Would Save $1.2 Trillion

Sunday, November 20

Capitol Watch: Nov. 21

Wednesday, November 16

A Day on the Hill: Colleen Hanabusa

Thursday, November 3

Hanabusa: Time for U.S. To Leave Afghanistan

October 2011

Monday, October 17

Business Execs, PACs Boost Hanabusa Campaign

Hanabusa Nearly Doubles Djou in Fundraising

Thursday, October 13

Panetta to Hanabusa on Military’s Future: ‘You’ve Got to Be Damn Flexible’

Tuesday, October 11

Observations on Lingle’s U.S. Senate Candidacy From An Almost-Candidate

September 2011

Friday, September 9

Nice Speech, Mr. President, But Can It Pass?

August 2011

Wednesday, August 24

Grab Bag: Hawaii’s 2011 Congressional Votes

No Senate Run for Hanabusa

Sunday, August 21

Djou: Hawaii Reps ‘Vote Lockstep’ With Democrats

Thursday, August 18

When Hawaii’s U.S. Reps Don’t Vote the Same Way

Tuesday, August 16

Army ‘Discouraged’ by Record-High Suicides

Thursday, August 4

Ko Olina Home In or Out of Hanabusa’s District?

Tuesday, August 2

Hawaii Senators Back Debt Deal Despite Concerns

Hanabusa: Republicans Had Edge in Debt Debate

July 2011

Thursday, July 28

Hanabusa: Debt Impasse Won’t Affect Social Security Checks

Wednesday, July 27

Hawaii Residents Express Fear, Frustration Over Debt Debate

Tuesday, July 19

DISCUSSION: Federal Government

Inouye: Debt Debate ‘Doing This Nation Harm’

Saturday, July 16

Hawaii Execs Put Their Money Behind Hanabusa

Friday, July 15

Hirono Leads in Hawaii Senate Fundraising

Friday, July 1

Mazie Hirono v. Colleen Hanabusa: A Preview?

June 2011

Monday, June 27

Capitol Watch: June 27

Friday, June 10

Hanabusa Rents Apartment in Her District

Hanabusa in the House: ‘I’m Different’

Thursday, June 9

Hanabusa to Decide on Senate Run by August

May 2011

Friday, May 20

Hirono Sparks Political Free-For-All

March 2011

Thursday, March 3

Akaka Retirement Triggers Political Free-For-All

January 2011

Thursday, January 20

Capitol Watch: Jan. 20

Thursday, January 6

Hanabusa: Health-Care Repeal Won’t Happen

Wednesday, January 5

Capitol Watch: Jan. 5

December 2010

Wednesday, December 29

Capitol Watch: Dec. 30

November 2010

Friday, November 12

Capitol Watch: Nov. 12

Wednesday, November 3

Hanabusa Captured Case Voters to Win 1st Congressional District

Colleen Hanabusa Throws a Victory Party — A Slideshow by Brian Tseng

Monday, November 1

Hanabusa Takes Back Hawaii’s First Congressional District for Democrats

October 2010

Sunday, October 31

The Last Word: Colleen Hanabusa on Why She Would Best Represent Hawaii in Congress

Friday, October 29

Hanabusa: Stimulus Created 1,931 Direct Jobs in Hawaii

Djou: 250K Spent on Attack Ads Against Hanabusa, Million Plus Against Me

Thursday, October 28

Mainland Money, Attack Ads Pouring Into 1st District

Wednesday, October 27

Civil Beat Poll: Hanabusa Has Edge in 1st Congressional District

Sunday, October 24

Djou and Hanabusa on Federal Laws that Need to be Changed

Hanabusa: Changes in Federal Laws Can Express Hawaii Values

Friday, October 22

Djou meets Hanabusa in Civil Beat/KHVH Open Mic

Thursday, October 21

Hanabusa: Djou Sent Four Fliers In First 23 Days in Congress

Wednesday, October 20

Rubber Stamp vs. Dr. No

Photo of Hanabusa Makes Djou Look Bad

Tuesday, October 19

Djou, Hanabusa Break the $2M Mark

Monday, October 18

What Would You Ask Djou and Hanabusa?

Professional Roots: Djou and Hanabusa

Friday, October 15

Around the Kitchen Table with Neil, Duke, Charles and Colleen

Thursday, October 14

Civil Beat Poll: Hanabusa on Top in 1st Congressional District

Tuesday, October 12

Hanabusa: GM Has Paid Off Its Bailout Debt

Monday, October 11

Professional Roots: Losing Powerlines Case Taught Hanabusa About Justice

Wednesday, October 6

The Truth About Djou and Schools

The Truth About Hanabusa and Government Waste

September 2010

Thursday, September 23

Colleen Hanabusa Answers 10 Questions From Civil Beat

Wednesday, September 22

1st Congressional Race Has National Implications

Tuesday, September 21

Hanabusa: I Exposed Waste and Fraud in Special Education

Wednesday, September 15

2 Ads Attack Djou, But 1 Is Gentler

Friday, September 10

New Hanabusa TV Ad: Old Time Hawaii

Wednesday, September 8

Hanabusa Outraises Djou in July and August

August 2010

Friday, August 20

Sunday in Moiliili With Dan

Saturday, August 7

Hanabusa: I Cut Waste and “Saved Us Millions”

July 2010

Thursday, July 29

Djou: Raising $3.8 Trillion In New Taxes a Bad Idea

Friday, July 23

Hawaii Links for Friday, July 23

Thursday, July 22

Hawaii Links for Thursday, July 14

Saturday, July 17

Look For the Union Label

Wednesday, July 14

Hawaii Links for Wednesday, June 14

Tuesday, July 13

Hawaii Links for Tuesday, July 13

June 2010

Tuesday, June 15

Hawaii Links for Tuesday, June 15

May 2010

Monday, May 31

Case Closed: What Ed’s Bombshell Means For Democrats

Thursday, May 27

Can Hawaii Democrats Unite At Weekend Convention?

Discussion: Hawaii 1st Congressional District Election

Monday, May 24

Analysis: Civil Beat Poll Points To Dems’ November Dilemma

The Price Tag Of A Seat In Congress: $12.31 Per Vote

Mr. Djou Goes To Washington

Sunday, May 23

1st District Voters Send Djou to Congress

Friday, May 21

Mail-In Voting The Winner In Special Election

Tuesday, May 18

Website 101 With Ed, Colleen and Charles

Thursday, May 13

Discussion: 1st Congressional District Special Election

Majority of 1st District Voters Likely To Be Unrepresented

Wednesday, May 12

UPDATE: The Four Bs On Hawaii Politics

Tuesday, May 11

National Democrats Pull Out Of Hawaii After Civil Beat Poll

Monday, May 10

Civil Beat Poll: Djou On Way To May 22 Victory