Hanabusa: Full steam ahead

for state’s Democrats

by Lester Chang – THE GARDEN ISLAND

Citing the growing power of Democrats in the state legislature as an indication, the next governor of Hawai‘i should also be a Democrat, Senate President Colleen Hanabusa said yesterday.

“I see a Democratic governor in 2010 and a Democratic president in 2008,” said Hanabusa, D-Nanakuli-Makua, during the 2007 Democratic Party of Kaua‘i convention at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School in Puhi.

Democrats don’t mind rocking the boat to get results, she said.

“Well, do we (get) upset? Of course we do. … Do you agree with us all of the time? Of course not,” she said. “We will never all agree on any one thing.”

But Democrats will listen, as “We do weigh things,” she said.

Democrats occupy 43 of 51 seats in the House and 20 of the 25 seats in the Senate, up from the days after Republican Gov. Linda Lingle first took office in 2002, Hanabusa said.

Hanabusa, who represents the 21st Senatorial District on leeward side of O‘ahu, made history by becoming the first woman to lead the Senate.

Hanabusa, a labor attorney, has championed legislation to strengthen medical benefits of state and county government, protected claims by Hawaiians and spearheaded efforts to fund anti-drug programs.

Noting Democrats want to be a party of the people, Hanabusa said, Democrats should recognize their strength is standing for the people.

Rep. Hermina Morita, D-Hanalei, praised Hanabusa for her grit and skills as a legislator and expressed her pride for Hanabusa, the first woman to lead the Senate.

Sen. Gary Hooser, D-Kaua‘i-Ni‘ihau, also lauded Hanabusa for her work, as the Legislature Friday night passed $50 million in tax relief for the “core people we represent,” namely families or individuals who make $60,000 and less per year.

In the Nov. 7, 2006, General Election, 662,728 of the state’s registered voters were eligible to participate.

Of the registered voters, 52.7 percent cast votes.

• Lester Chang, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or lchang@kauaipubco.com.

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