Federal Government in Hawaii

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The federal government has a significant presence in Hawaii, in part because of its relative size to a small state like Hawaii but especially because of Hawaii’s military history and strategic presence for the United States. In 2016, the federal government employed 33,200 people, and there were 40,000 serving in the military. That is almost half the number of state employees which is 65,000.

The numbers of Defense Department employees and overall federal workers in Hawaii has steadily increased since 2006, according to state labor data.

The federal government spent the most money per capita of any state in the nation on salaries and wages of workers in Hawaii in 2010. That $7.9 billion on salaries was part of a more than $20 billion in federal money that flowed into the state last year, making Hawaii the fifth-highest recipient of federal spending per capita in the U.S.

Congressional Representation

Hawaii has two U.S. senators and two U.S. representatives. The junior senator is Brian Schatz, who was elected in 2014 to fill the term of  Daniel K. Inouye, who died in office in 2014 after serving in the Senate for 51 years. The senior senator, Mazie Hirono,  has served since 2012. Both are Democrats.

Hirono was elected to succeed Daniel K. Akaka who retired after 22 years in the Senate.

Hawaii has two congressional districts. The 1st Congressional District is essentially Honolulu and other parts of urban Oahu. The district includes Pearl City, Waimalu, Aiea, and the downtown area where Hawaii’s government offices and many of its top businesses are concentrated. The 2nd Congressional District comprises all the other areas of Oahu and the counties of MauiKauai and Hawaii island.

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa has served in the 1st Congressional District since January 2011. The 2nd Congressional District is represented by Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, who replaced Hirono when she was elected to the Senate.

Reflecting the dominance of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Hawaii has sent only three Republicans to Congress since statehood in 1959.


Federal Courts

Appeals Court-Ninth Circuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has jurisdiction over Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, California, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The appellate court reviews the decisions of U.S. district courts.

Ninth Circuit

The Clerk’s Office is in San Francisco, (415) 556-9800, where many hearings are held.

Bankruptcy Court

The United States Bankruptcy Court District of Hawaii is located in Honolulu. Bankruptcy courts consider filings from people and businesses that cannot pay their debts.

Clerk’s Office: (808) 522-8100.

District Court

The United States District Court District of Hawaii is located in Honolulu. District courts are trial courts for the federal court system and can hear both civil and criminal cases.

District Court District of Hawaii

Clerk’s Office: (808) 541-1300.

U.S. Attorney

United States Attorneys are the chief legal enforcement office for the U.S. in states and other jurisdictions. The office prosecutes criminal cases brought by the federal government, and prosecutes and defends civil cases in which the U.S. is a party. The U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Hawaii is located in Honolulu.

U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Hawaii

Contact: (808) 541-2850

Federal Aviation Administration

The Federal Aviation Administration, under the U.S. Department of Transportation, regulates and oversees civil aviation. The FAA’s [Western-Pacific Region], with offices in Hawthorne, Calif., includes Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada and California. Regional Public Affairs Office: (310) 725-3580; Honolulu information and locater office (808) 541-1238; Honolulu airports district office: (808) 541-1232

Customs and Border Protection

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, housed within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for securing trade and travel and enforcing U.S. regulations regarding illegal drugs, weapons, and immigration. Hawaii office: (808) 356-4100.

Department of Defense

The U.S. Department of Defense has a large presence in Hawaii, dating to before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that led the U.S. into World War II. The U.S. armed forces has service members stationed at several large bases on Oahu, including Air Force and Navy personnel at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Army personnel at Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter, and Marines as Marine Corp Base Hawaii in Kaneohe, which is located in windward Oahu.

A 2008 figure showed the number of U.S. armed forces personnel and their dependents in Hawaii to be 37,522 personnel and 61,308 dependents. But the numbers fluctuate depending on foreign deployment requirements; in 2001, for example, prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., there were 43,805 personnel and 52,906 dependents stationed or home-ported in the islands.

The military’s importance to Hawaii is underscored by the earmarks Hawaii’s Congressional delegation directs toward the military. For example, when Sen. Daniel K. Inouye chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee, he brought in $2.7 billion in earmarks in fiscal years 2008-2010. Inouye’s military earmarks in Hawaii over the years have included $1.7 billion for Oahu base housing and other facilities, and improvements to training facilities; and more than $944 million to the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai to support missile defense testing and systems.

Oahu’s Camp H.M. Smith near Pearl Harbor is headquarters for the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM), a command whose responsibility covers half the globe — from the U.S. West Coast to India, from Antarctica to the North Pole. According to PACOM, as it is known (pronounced “PAY-com”):

“There are few regions as culturally, socially, economically, and geo-politically diverse as the Asia-Pacific. The 36 nations that comprise the Asia-Pacific region are home to more than 50% of the world’s population, three thousand different languages, several of the world’s largest militaries, and five nations allied with the U.S. through mutual defense treaties. Two of the three largest economies are located in the Asia-Pacific along with ten of the fourteen smallest [and] includes the most populous nation in the world, the largest democracy, and the largest Muslim-majority nation.”

PACOM Public Affairs Office: (808) 477-1341.

Western-Pacific Region
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam

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June 2017

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May 2017

Thursday, May 25

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Tuesday, May 16

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Monday, May 15

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Friday, May 12

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April 2017

Wednesday, April 26

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Friday, April 7

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Monday, April 3

Hawaii Injunction Against Travel Ban Goes To Appeals Court In May

March 2017

Thursday, March 30

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Wednesday, March 29

Hawaii Judge Refuses To Back Down, Extends Ruling Against Travel Ban

Tuesday, March 28

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Friday, March 24

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Thursday, March 23

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Tuesday, March 21

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Sunday, March 19

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Tuesday, March 14

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Monday, March 13

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Thursday, March 9

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Wednesday, March 8

Hawaii Becomes First State To Challenge Trump’s New Travel Ban

Tuesday, March 7

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February 2017

Thursday, February 16

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Tuesday, February 14

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Thursday, February 9

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Tuesday, February 7

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Monday, February 6

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Friday, February 3

Hawaii Sues Trump To Block New Immigration Policy

January 2017

Sunday, January 29

Honolulu Protesters Join The Outcry Over Immigration Ban

Thursday, January 12

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November 2016

Thursday, November 10

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August 2016

Thursday, August 25

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October 2015

Friday, October 23

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July 2015

Thursday, July 16

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February 2015

Tuesday, February 24

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September 2014

Monday, September 29

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Wednesday, September 10

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October 2013

Wednesday, October 23

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Friday, October 18

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June 2013

Tuesday, June 25

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April 2013

Tuesday, April 23

Hawaii Spy Case: Did Chinese Girlfriend Lure Secrets From Contractor?

January 2013

Thursday, January 17

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November 2012

Thursday, November 29

White House: Middle Class Tax Hike Could Cut Hawaii Spending By $1B

Tuesday, November 20

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Monday, November 19

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Wednesday, October 10

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September 2012

Friday, September 21

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Wednesday, September 12

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August 2012

Thursday, August 16

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June 2012

Thursday, June 28

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Thursday, June 7

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May 2012

Tuesday, May 22

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April 2012

Friday, April 27

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March 2012

Monday, March 26

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February 2012

Wednesday, February 22

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January 2012

Friday, January 27

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Thursday, January 19

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December 2011

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November 2011

Tuesday, November 29

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September 2011

Wednesday, September 28

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Tuesday, September 6

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Saturday, September 3

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August 2011

Tuesday, August 30

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Thursday, August 25

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Wednesday, August 17

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Thursday, August 4

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July 2011

Tuesday, July 26

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Thursday, July 21

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May 2011

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Thursday, May 5

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April 2011

Wednesday, April 6

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March 2011

Tuesday, March 29

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Thursday, March 17

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December 2010

Tuesday, December 14

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September 2010

Wednesday, September 22

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August 2010

Tuesday, August 17

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May 2010

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Discussion: Hawaii