GOP’s McDermott to challenge Mink

State Rep. Bob McDermott has filed nomination papers to challenge U.S. House Rep. Patsy Mink for control of the second congressional district. The district covers rural O’ahu and the Neighbor Islands.

McDermott, a Republican who has served for three terms in state House District 32, representing Salt Lake, Aiea and Foster Village, acknowledges he is a “clear underdog” against Mink (D-Hawai’i).

But McDermott said, in a prepared statement, that Mink should retire because Hawai’i residents are ready for a change, a contention repudiated by Mink’s staff, who say she is as productive as ever.

McDermott said Mink has been in and out of office for nearly four decades and “is representative of the type of 1960’s liberal whose time has passed.”

“Her partisanship and her extremism make her increasingly ineffective in the Republican-controlled House,” McDermott said.

Hawai’i needs to send a bipartisan delegation to Washington D.C. to ensure “the continued flow of federal aid to our state,” McDermott said.

The 17 years Sen. Hiram Fong (R-Hawai’i) and the four years House Rep. Pat Saiki (Hawai’i) served in Congress “prove that we need people from both parties to continue the amount of federal aid which Sen. (Daniel) Inouye (D-Hawai’i) has been so effective in steering our way,” McDermott said.

McDermott said he has high respect for Mink, but believes she “has earned a peaceful retirement here at home on the islands.”

In the aftermath of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, “her votes against the national interest by failing to support nearly every single anti-terrorism measure passed this past year demonstrate to me and to many others that she is no longer the right person to represent our very patriotic state,” McDermott said.

A former Marine who saw action during the Persian Gulf War in the early 1990s, McDermott said he is considered to be “very pro-defense” and calls himself “a hawk who loves peace and knows that our freedoms are worth fighting for.”

Mink opposed some anti-terrorism measures presented in Congress to protect the civil rights of citizens.

McDermott said Mink is “out of touch with the people of Hawai’i, out of ideas for our nation’s future and out of time.”

Hawai’i has the youngest average population and the oldest congressional delegation, McDermott contends.

“Its time we start developing new leadership with energy and vigor to represent our state in the new century,” he said.

McDermott said is it is a disservice to Hawai’i to send the “same tired faces to Washington, especially when they no longer do a good job of representing us.”

McDermott is married to the former Utufaasili Poti and has three sons.

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