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Sunday, March 07, 2010
In Congress, Hawaii now represented by Lorraine C. Miller
By Andrew Walden @ 1:32 AM :: 8572 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment

by Andrew Walden

Charles Djou says he’s “ready” for the May 22 Special Election.  But Colleen Hanabusa and her supporters aren’t so sure if they’re ready.

Hanabusa, in a December email to supporters, said there is "real concern" about ... "bankrolling a special election we cannot afford...."

Rep James Tokioka, chairman of the House Legislative Management Committee, Friday joined several legislators questioning the timing of the three way show down between old-boy favorite Hanabusa, the widely hated Ed Case, and Republican anti-corruption crusader Charles Djou.  With Hanabusa trailing in the polls both public and private, their fear is obvious.

Union boss Debbie Shimizu, head of the Hawaii chapter of the National Association of Social Workers apparently tried to convince Representatives that union jobs are more important than democracy, arguing in written testimony Friday: “I cannot believe that the governor is able to find $1 million for a special election and cannot find the money to maintain our social service programs."

According to the Associated Press: “Shimizu testified in writing that Hawaii will be represented in the U.S. House by Rep. Mazie Hirono in the 2nd District while Abercrombie's seat is vacant.”

This is not accurate.  Hawaii’s First Congressional District is being represented by Fort Worth, Texas native Lorraine C Miller. 

  Lorraine C. Miller

Miller has a habit of taking over the vacant offices of Congressmen who have abandoned their seats.  In the 110th Congress, she took over fourteen Districts.  Until Abercrombie abandoned his seat, Miller had done this seven times in the 111th Congress.  True to form, on March 1, 2010, Miller unilaterally announced that she was now representing the First Congressional District of Hawaii as well.  She does this with a wink and a nod from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who appointed Miller Clerk of the US House in 2007.  Operating vacant Districts' offices is one of the Clerk's responsibilities. 

Clerk of the House Lorraine C. Miller (L) hands the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA) looks on before the signing ceremony at the U.S. Capitol September 18, 2007 in Washington, DC. The act will increase by nearly 600,000 the number of low and moderate-income students who are eligible to receive federal Pell Grant scholarships.

When Miller isn’t busy telling the “enlightened, conscious, and progressive” Pelosi where to put her signature on various bills, she takes time out to represent several vacant Congressional districts.  In addition to HI-1, Miller also represents PA-12 and FL-19.  Starting Monday, Miller will represent NY-29 after Democratic Rep Eric Massa was forced out in a gay sex harassment scandal.

It is not immediately clear whether Miller has ever been to Hawaii. 

According to her takeover announcement, Miller’s authority “does not include voting representation.”   Miller calls her latest conquest, “Office of the First Congressional District of Hawaii, Formerly the Office of Representative Neil Abercrombie.”

It will be up to Miller to determine whether constituent services are continued.  Her takeover announcement points out: “The staff of the vacant office will continue to assist constituents who have cases pending with the office. These constituents will receive a letter from the Clerk requesting whether the staff should continue assistance or not.”

In what probably shouldn’t be construed as a subtle tip of the hat to Shimizu, Miller calls this “casework.”

Writes Miller: “This interim vacant status continues until a new Representative is elected to fill the unexpired term….  (T)he vacant congressional office cannot take or advocate positions of public policy….  Constituents may choose to express opinions on legislation or issues to your elected Senators or wait until a new Representative is elected and takes office.”

While you’re waiting, remember: At least the social workers have jobs.

In spite of Legislators’ best efforts, Election Day will be May 22.  The election will be by mail-in ballot but walk-in absentee voting will be May 10-20 at Honolulu Hale from 8AM-4PM.  All ballots must be received by 6PM May 22.

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