by Andrew Walden
Democratic Congressional candidate Ed Case has responded this afternoon to the resignation announcement by Neil Abercrombie with an emailed statement.
In an obvious reference to Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, (D-Koolina) Case argues that those who "have suggested that we don't need the special election until our regular primary election on September 18th" demonstrate "not only a disrespect for our rights as citizens, but a basic lack of knowledge of how Capitol Hill works and what's at stake."
Colleen Hanabusa has argued that Hawaii cannot afford a Special Election.
This continues several weeks of back and forth between Case and Hanabusa.
In a December 26 interview with The Hill, Hanabusa argued that Democrats have not forgiven Case for his 2006 Primary challenge against Sen Dan Akaka and called upon him to bow out of the race.
Just before Christmas, Case called Hanabusa "clueless" and indicated he would again be a candidate for US Senate at the earliest possible opportunity.
The conflict is spilling over into the Gubernatorial Democratic Primary race as well. Senator Dan Inouye told the Honolulu Advertiser that Neil Abercrombie supporters were "lying" when they argued that Inouye was neutral in the Democratic Primary race between Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann. Inouye urged Hannemann to enter the Democratic primary and criticized Abercrombie's decision to resign from Congress.
The comments were widely seen as a brush back aimed at Big Island Abercrombie backer John Buckstead who was openly seeking to convince Hawaii Democrats that Inouye was neutral.
This came on the heels of a December 21 Advertiser article describing extraordinary efforts by Abercrombie to defeat the Super-delegate candidacy of Inouye's chief of staff during the 2008 Hawaii Democratic Convention.
Ed Case Statement January 4, 2010
January 4, 2010
Congressman Abercrombie will resign from the U. S. House of Representatives on February 28th. This vacancy in his remaining term through early 2011 must be filled by a special election scheduled at least sixty days in advance, so the earliest we can elect his replacement is late April.
Some have suggested that we don't need the special election until our regular primary election on September 18th. That demonstrates not only a disrespect for our rights as citizens, but a basic lack of knowledge of how Capitol Hill works and what's at stake.
We should schedule this special election as soon as possible. Here are ten reasons:
1. Full representation at all times. Over 600,000 citizens live in Hawai‘i's First Congressional District. Not only they, but all citizens of Hawai‘i and our country, need and deserve a full vote in our Congress always.
2. Crucial for small state delegations. Each state's delegation in Congress operates together, each member utilizing his or her special strengths and relationships for the benefit of their home. Large delegations like New York or California can adjust to a vacancy, but small states like Hawai‘i need to be at full strength always.
3. Primary work of Congress. The five months between April and September are when this Congress will do the lion's share of its work this year. Almost 45% of the U.S. House's scheduled voting days fall during that period, and of course the work of a Member of Congress goes on every day whether or not votes are scheduled.
4. Crucial issues for our country. The 2010 session of Congress will make decisions of crucial importance to our country. Just some of the areas are economic recovery, job creation, national deficits and debt, taxes, foreign affairs, national security, health care, energy and veterans.
5. Crucial issues for our Hawai‘i. The 2010 session of Congress will be debating laws of special importance to our Hawai‘i. These include federal surface and air transportation funding and No Child Left Behind in education.
6. Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations. The federal government's next fiscal year begins on October 1, 2010. One of the most important responsibilities of any Member of Congress is to shepherd funding requests for state and county governments and groups back home through this convoluted process. That usually begins with district outreach now, evaluation, and request deadlines within Congress in March and April followed by testimony and other advocacy and then committee and floor consideration before October.
7. Committee representation continuity. Each Member of Congress plays a key role on the committees to which he or she is assigned. Congressman Abercrombie serves on the Armed Services and Natural Resources Committees, responsible especially for overseeing federal military and environmental protection activities in Hawai‘i, respectively. His successor will likely take over for the duration of the 111th Congress.
8. Federal government support for Hawai‘i needs. Each Member is responsible for assisting Hawai‘i governments, groups and individuals in fully accessing federal programs and funding already authorized. This work requires constant contact with the executive branch year round.
9. Individual constituent contact and needs. Each Member is responsible for responding to constituent suggestions and questions on issues before Congress, and for assisting his or her constituents with their individual concerns and needs (casework) in areas like immigration, Social Security/Medicare, and veterans benefits. This work is also time-consuming and ongoing regardless of Congress' schedule.
10. Seniority counts. Every day of service in Congress provides a Member with crucial seniority, which translates into capability to get things done. For example, in November 2002 I was elected in a special election to serve out the remainder of the late Congresswoman Mink's term. Yet even that five weeks of service provided me seniority over the next full class in the following Congress, which I was able to use to Hawai‘i's benefit. We should provide Congressman Abercrombie's replacement with as much seniority as possible.