Why is Doug Chin resigning to run for Congress while Colleen Hanabusa isn’t quitting to run for governor?
Chin doesn’t legally have to resign from his job as state attorney general, but he’s going to anyway.
The attorney general and Gov. David Ige decided that it is in the “best interests” of Hawaii to step aside come March. Chin also wants to lend his full attention to his race.
Still, Hanabusa, the U.S. representative who insisted that there were potential conflicts of interest for a sitting AG to run for Congress, said that’s no problem for her and she doesn’t plan to resign to campaign to replace Ige.
Do as I say, not as I do: Colleen Hanabusa launched her campaign for governor Monday, a workday back in D.C.
Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat
She said she’s mastered the House of Representatives and can return to Washington for any necessary votes.
Hanabusa’s position is hypocritical and serves to diminish the Ige administration’s shining star.
If she thinks Chin should step aside, then so should she.
Missed Votes In DC
Hanabusa made the formal announcement of her gubernatorial campaign Monday, which was actually the beginning of a work week on the Hill.
Hanabusa was absent, although U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard managed to be there for roll call along with 356 other members (including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her No. 2, Steny Hoyer).
We recognize that Hanabusa, as a Democrat in a Republican-controlled House, may have little sway when it comes to legislation.
But she also sits on the House Armed Services Committee, which had a hearing on China scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday EST in the Rayburn House Office Building. Another hearing is set for Wednesday, this one a Department of Defense update.
A spokesman for her campaign said she won’t go back to D.C. until next week.
When she returned to Congress in 2015, Hanabusa was also elected to be the freshman leadership voice on Pelosi’s team. Hanabusa reminded reporters of both leadership positions Monday when she repeatedly lambasted Ige for lacking leadership.
But she’s an exception, it appears.
“Understanding Congress at the level that I feel I understand it now is what gives me the luxury and opportunity to be here listening to the people of the state of Hawaii as to what is important to them,” she said.
Unfortunately, that would leave Hawaii without the “luxury” of both of its House representatives at a time when Washington sure could use some leadership.
A screen shot taken Tuesday from Colleen Hanabusa’s Facebook page.
Unlike Chin, who has mastered the art of promotional press releases during his tenure as AG but will have to give that up when he leaves office, Hanabusa would continue to benefit from her congressional office as she campaigns for governor.
That would likely mean a lot of press releases from her office in D.C. even as she campaigns in the islands.
Hanabusa needs to follow the example of Neil Abercrombie, who left the very same seat in Congress after 20 years to run for governor. That set up a special election in May 2010 to fill out the remainder of his term.
Hawaii voters deserve nothing short of full and active representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. Not a part-time congresswoman who is spending considerable time and energy campaigning for Hawaii’s most important job.
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The members of Civil Beat’s editorial board are Pierre Omidyar, Patti Epler, Jim Simon, Richard Wiens, Chad Blair, Jessica Terrell and Landess Kearns. Opinions expressed by the editorial board reflect the group’s consensus view. Chad Blair, the Politics and Opinion Editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.