I don't know why Governor Neil Abercrombie (D. HI) chose to ignore Senator Daniel Inouye's (D. HI) request before he passed away but it might have something to do with this:Passed over in December for an appointment to the state’s vacant Senate seat by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in favor of now-Sen. Brian Schatz, Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is deciding whether to challenge one of them in a primary next year.
According to a source close to the congresswoman, Hanabusa will likely decide on whether to run for governor, senator or for re-election within the next couple of weeks and then announce her plans soon after.
A poll commissioned by Hanabusa and leaked to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser earlier this month showed Hanabusa leading both Abercrombie and Schatz by double-digit margins in hypothetical Democratic primaries. Should Hanabusa challenge either in a statewide contest, several Democrats would no doubt enter the race to replace her in the safely Democratic 1st District. - Roll Call, 3/20/13
The Washington Post made the case for Hanabusa back in December after Inouye passed away:In a news release, a group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), likened Hanabusa to “a loan shark” for charging more than 9 per cent in interest on $125,000 in loans she made to her congressional campaign in the 2006 election.
Hanabusa campaign spokesman Richard Rapoza said in response that the Congresswoman didn’t make a penny on the loans. She first borrowed the money herself from Central Pacific Bank and then re-loaned it, at the bank’s interest rates, to the campaign, said Rapoza.
“The interest rates to the campaign on those funds reflect the rates charged by the bank, and interest payments were made directly to the bank,” said Rapoza.
“CREW’s allegations are false,” Rapoza continued.
In 2008 and 2010, the Hanabusa campaign paid $31,000 in interest on the loans and reduced principal by $2,854.
The information about Hanabusa was included in a larger report issued by CREW which purported to show “how members of the House of Representatives use their positions to benefit themselves and their families.”
CREW executive director Melanie Sloan made the “loan shark” comment about Hanabusa in a news release that accompanied the report.
“Most Americans open a savings account when they want to earn a little interest on their money. Instead, Rep. Hanabusa is making a killing by investing in her own campaign,” said Sloan. - Hawaii Reporter, 3/22/12
I don't know if I really buy these reasons as why this seat should be Hanabusa's but that's going to be up to the voters in Hawaii if she decides to run for Senate or Governor. Personally, I see this potential move by Hanabusa as a bitter attempt for revenge to go after Abercrombie for passing her up for Inouye's seat and taking it out on him and Schatz. She may not even decide to run for either position, so it's her decision to make. But I for one would like to argue for having Schatz as our nominee and awarding him a full term in the Senate.* It’s (arguably) her turn: Hanabusa considered running for retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka’s (D) seat this past cycle, but “after much reflection” opted to stay in the House, averting a potentially messy three-way race for the Democratic nomination. Hanabusa’s House colleague Mazie Hirono (D) ended up winning the seat easily, and now, it’s hard to argue that Hanabusa isn’t next in line to ascend to the Senate.
* Hanabusa knows Washington: The House has been a natural springboard to the Senate in the Aloha State: Akaka, Inouye and Hirono each served there before moving up to the Senate. Inouye was the chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and had cultivated relationships with members of both parties for years. Whoever fills his shoes will be decades away from even being able to think about wielding such influence. But having someone familiar with the inner workings of Congress and D.C. would mean his successor wouldn’t be starting from scratch. And that counts. - Washington Post, 12/18/12
When Schatz was appointed to the Senate, he wanted to make climate change his number one priority in the Senate:
I am impressed with how quickly he's moved on this issue. He's been appointed to the Chairman of the Water and Power subcommittee:As a Senator from a state that has led the way in building clean energy infrastructure, producing renewable energy and reducing our petroleum dependency, I know we can achieve meaningful change across our nation. As Lieutenant Governor, I led the efforts toward Hawaii's 70 percent clean energy goal by 2030, and we have made encouraging progress. This partnership has the enthusiastic support of our business community, the U.S. DOE and DOD, the state government, and even our monopoly electric utility. The result? Hawaii has tripled clean energy from 6 to 18 percent in just three years, and we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation.
Now I have joined my congressional colleagues in seeking ways to address the challenges of climate change at the federal level. In Hawaii, we learned that if we pushed ourselves to meet specific goals, we can make substantive progress. This has taken creativity, collaboration and innovation -- the same qualities that have helped America overcome other seemingly unconquerable problems. - Huffington Post, 3/15/13
He's also one of the lead Senators drafting carbon-printing legislation:Sen. Brian Schatz's work in Hawaii with renewable energy has landed him a leadership role not often offered to freshman senators: head of a Senate subcommittee, his office said in an announcement scheduled for today.
Sen. Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said he believes Schatz is in a good position to lead the Water and Power subcommittee, which is under the Energy Committee.
"Brian will be a real asset to our committee, and a great partner for clean energy in Hawaii and the rest of the country," Wyden, D-Oregon, said in a news release to be issued today. "While it is uncommon for a freshman member to gain a chairmanship, he has demonstrated the drive and ability to take up that responsibility, despite having just a few weeks of tenure in the Senate."
Schatz, Hawaii's former lieutenant governor, was appointed on Dec. 26 by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to serve in the seat of Sen. Daniel Inouye, who died Dec. 17, until a special election in 2014. - Honolulu Star Advertiser, 2/14/13
And he's also pushing a bill to expand Hawaii's national parks:Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, and Sen. Brian Schatz have released draft carbon-pricing legislation and solicited feedback on it from stakeholders and the public.
The legislation would establish the polluter pays principle for dangerous carbon pollution, requiring large emitters to pay for the pollution they emit.
The “discussion draft” contains a new and straightforward approach to putting a price on carbon pollution. The nation’s largest polluters would have to pay a fee for each ton of pollution they release.
The legislation assigns responsibility for the assessment and collection of the carbon fees based upon the expertise that has already been developed by EPA and the Treasury Department.
Under the discussion draft, EPA’s database of reported emissions would determine the amount of pollution subject to the fee. The Treasury Department would be responsible for the collection and handling of the fees. - Hawaii 24/7, 3/13/13
Hawaii's seven national parks have brought in $295 million dollars in 2011. The Pacific Islands Parks Act of 2013 has the backing of some big environmental groups:U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz introduced a bill Wednesday that seeks to expand Hawaii’s national parks while preserving the state’s special places and bringing in more tourism dollars.
Hawaii has seven national parks, but Schatz wants to add more. The Democratic senator held a conference call Wednesday joined by several conservation organizations in which he said Hawaii wants to identify those places that are biologically and historically significant, or just “extraordinarily beautiful.”
The Pacific Islands Parks Act of 2013, the first bill to be introduced by the senator sworn in last December as the late Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye’s successor, would direct the National Park Service to complete studies of three designated sites in Hawaii. The bill also would allow for studies on Midway Atoll, the Northern Mariana Islands and Palau.
Schatz said Hawaii has great resources in its unique mountains, forests, volcanoes, trails and wildlife. - Washington Post, 3/21/13
Schatz is true blue about environmental issues and his passion to battle climate change is driving him to run for a full term in the Senate. And it just might be what helps him win both his party's nominee and the special election:Lea Hong, Hawaiian Islands State Director for The Trust for Public Land noted: “Parks are a wise investment, supporting hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor recreational activities that contribute a total of $725.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy, and 6.15 million jobs according to the Outdoor Industry Association. More broadly, outdoor recreation, nature conservation, and historic preservation contribute a total of $1.06 trillion annually to the economy, supporting 8.4 million jobs – or one out every 16 jobs in the U.S.”
"The Sierra Club appreciates and strongly supports Senator Schatz's efforts to protect Hawai‘i's special places," said Robert D. Harris, Director of the Sierra Club of Hawai‘i. "Recognizing the looming impacts of climate change and sea level rise, this is an important step towards preserving Hawai‘i's unique cultural and natural heritage, and ensuring our children have amazing beaches and wild places to explore."
“The federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was enacted nearly 50 years ago to use revenues from the extraction of offshore oil and gas to support the conservation of other precious resources - our land and water,” said Suzanne Case, Hawaiʻi State Director for The Nature Conservancy. “Today, the LWCF is the primary federal financing tool to conserve our national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges. Legislation like that introduced by Senator Schatz today proposes to identify some of those precious resources in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific that are at risk of being lost, but have the potential for protection through the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” concluded Case.
“We support Senator Schatz’s efforts to expand National Parks in Hawai’i because Hawai‘i’s long-term well-being, environmentally, economically, and otherwise, is directly linked to the land and the choices we make about it,” said Ted Clement, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust Executive Director. “Indeed, Hawai’i’s state motto proclaims, ‘The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.’ The proposed legislation will help keep Hawai‘i a world-class destination and highly desirable place to live, work and visit – factors critical to our economy.” - Hawaii Reporter, 3/20/13
Now those of you who follow my diaries know that I have been an outspoken advocate for electing more women as governors, Congresswomen and Senators. I am a huge supporter of Elizabeth Colbert-Busch's (D) candidacy in the South Carolina Special Election for the First District. I like the idea of Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D. IL) defeating vulnerable incumbent Pat Quinn (D. IL) in the primary. I also think that Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) and Ashley Judd (D) would make strong candidates in unseating Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R. KY). And of course I am a huge supporter of making history in Pennsylvania in 2014 by electing Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D. PA-13) the first female governor of the Keystone State. I'm also warming up to the idea of former Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D. SD) being the ideal nominee to run for Senator Tim Johnson's (D. SD) seat if he chooses to retire. But I think Hawaii already has a great Senator who is dedicated to creating green jobs and a cleaner environment. I for one strongly support Brian Schatz to be elected to a full term in the U.S. Senate come 2014. if you agree with me, feel free to donate to his re-election campaign:So far, Schatz has won accolades from environmental groups. “He certainly has a lifelong passion that he demonstrated at the state level. He’ll bring the same sort of commitment to the Senate and I expect he’ll be helping lead the charge,” the League of Conservation Voters spokesman, Jeff Gohringer, said in an interview.
In addition, the press coverage around his proposals may help in what appears to be one of the challenges for a lieutenant governor-turned-Senator who did not go through an election campaign.
An internal Hanabusa poll obtained by Civil Beat found Hanabusa leading Schatz 54 percent to 32 percent. Hanabusa who is rumored to also be considering a run for governor, leads Gov. Neil Abercrombie 55 percent to 28 percent.
The poll found 41 percent of Democrats had a favorable impression of Schatz, but an equal percentage either had no opinion of him or had never heard of him.
Steady press coverage "is helping to keep his name in the news and on the radar as an advocate for climate change and renewable energy issues,” said Carlos Juarez, chairman of Hawaii Pacific University's Department of Social Sciences who served on the congressional staff of former Democratic California Sen. Alan Cranston.
Ultimately, the consultants said, Schatz will have to go beyond environmental issues. They say Schatz would benefit from linking environmental issues to the economy — a move Schatz attempted Tuesday, noting Hawaii’s seven national parks generated $259 million for Hawaii’s economy in 2011. - Honolulu Civil Beat, 3/20/13