If Democrats are going to keep control of the House this fall, we're going to need to play offense. We're going to need to win some seats currently held by Republicans. We're going to have to target districts that should by all rights be blue, which should be represented by populists committed to a just and vibrant America, but which have fallen into the clutches of corporate tools. And there's not a better opportunity to do just that than in Blue Hawai‘i's First District, where progressive fighter Colleen Hanabusa -- our newest Orange to Blue candidate -- is poised to recapture a blue seat for the people of O‘ahu.
HI-01 encompasses most of the population of the island of O‘ahu, including central Honolulu, Pearl City, and Mililani. It's Hawai‘i's urban district, it was the home of teenage Barack Obama, and with a PVI of D+11, it's nearly as blue as, say, Barney Frank's South Coast district. For nearly 20 years, it was represented by Democrat Neil Abercrombie, who was a member of the Progressive Caucus and a reliable vote for working people. And on a personal note, it was my home for three very fortunate years.
Maybe that's why it frustrates me so much that when Abercrombie resigned to run for Governor early this year, Republican Charles Djou took advantage of a split Democratic Party to win a three-way special election. I mean, Honolulu is a Democratic town. It's a union town, a diverse town, a place where "‘ohana" -- family -- is the undisputed core value that unites all of its citizens. More than anywhere else I've lived, Hawai‘i -- and more specifically, Honolulu -- has worked to build a just, fair society. Long before the current health reform law was a twinkle in its favorite son's eye, Hawai‘i had built an affordable health insurance regime that was the envy of progressives across the country. Honolulu has a terrific, cheap, public transportation system. And the state has the second highest union density in the country, just behind New York. So the fact that HI-01 is now held by Djou, a party-line GOP extremist, isn't just perplexing -- it's offensive.
Help Colleen Hanabusa take back HI-01.
Of course, the only reason Djou holds the seat is because he had the good fortune to face two Democrats in the spring special election. As you may recall, Djou edged out Hanabusa due to the presence of Blue Dog ex-Congressman Ed Case, who was heavily backed by establishment corporate Dem interests. But this time around, Hanabusa has a clear shot at Djou, and while Djou is now campaigning from a greater position of strength as an incumbent, Hanabusa has a great shot of winning. But it's going to be tight -- the polls have the race neck-and-neck, and she can definitely use our support.
There's a reason that Hawai‘i progressives supported Colleen Hanabusa so vigorously in the special election, even as the national Democratic party tried to clear the field for Ed Case: she's a fighter for working families. Hanabusa is a labor lawyer by trade, and has spent her career working on behalf of Hawai‘i's union activists. As a state senator who rose to Senate President, she's been a powerful force for fair and equitable education funding. And she's a champion of reproductive rights -- in short, she's everything that Charles Djou isn't.
We're less than a month away from an election which could very well give us Speaker Boehner. If we want to avoid that gruesome outcome, it's going to take more than erecting a firewall around incumbents -- it's going to take smart targeting of vulnerable Republican seats. And while we're at it, we should be supporting the kind of Democrats who will fight for us once they get to Washington. HI-01 is that kind of seat, and Colleen Hanabusa is that kind of Democrat. And that's why we've added her to Orange to Blue.
(Hanabusa's O2B questionnaire responses -- short, to the point, and dead on -- are below the fold.)
- Do you support:
a ) A public health insurance option, offered by the federal government and tied to Medicare
reimbursement rates plus 5% (H.R. 3200 § 223, as introduced in the House)? Yes.
b ) The Public Option Act (H.R. 4789), which would allow all citizens to buy into Medicare? Yes.
- Do you support the Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 1409/S. 560), including the provision known
as "card check"? Yes.
- Do you support a repeal of the policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (10 U.S.C. § 654)? Yes.
- Do you agree that any immigration reform bill should:
a ) Contain a meaningful path to citizenship - one that does not include overly-punitive fines or a
touchback requirement - for law-abiding undocumented immigrants currently in the United States;
b ) Ensure that expanded legal permanent immigration, rather than expansion of temporary worker
programs, serves as the United States' primary external answer to workforce shortages; and
c ) Ensure that any non-agricultural temporary worker programs maintain current caps on the
total number of non-agricultural temporary worker visas issued, and also include a meaningful
prevailing wage requirement keyed to the Service Contract Act and Davis-Bacon Act?
Yes, Yes, Yes.
- Do you think Congress should act to suspend regulation of greenhouse gas emissions by the
Environmental Protection Agency? No.
- If elected to the House, do you pledge not to join the Blue Dog caucus? Yes.
- If elected to the Senate, do you pledge to restore majority rule to the Senate and work/vote to end the