Gabbard seeks W. Oahu Senate seat
Armed with petitions of 3,000 signatures of support, former Honolulu City Councilman Mike Gabbard announced his candidacy to challenge 14-year Democratic incumbent Sen. Brian Kanno for his seat representing West Oahu.
Gabbard, a Republican known for his opposition to same-sex marriage, said he also considered a run for the seat in Congress being vacated by U.S. Rep. Ed Case, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.
"When I was presented with these petitions a few months ago, I had made a commitment to run in the state Senate," Gabbard said at a news conference yesterday. "Then Ed Case made his announcement (in January) to run for U.S. Senate, so I was faced with the dilemma: Do I go back on my word to the people I've talked to out there and run for Congress with an excellent chance of winning, or do I honor my commitment to the people of West Oahu? I chose to honor that commitment."
Gabbard lost to Case for the 2nd Congressional District seat in 2004.
Kanno has represented the 19th Senate District (Kalaeloa to Makakilo) since 1992 and holds the powerful position of labor chairman. He was absent from yesterday's Senate floor session and did not return a telephone message seeking comment.
Gabbard refused to levy any criticism against the incumbent.
"I worked with the incumbent when I was on the City Council on various projects and we worked very closely together," said Gabbard, who served on the Council from 2002 to 2004.
Gabbard said he plans to focus on quality-of-life issues for the district.
"As you know, the 'Second City' and everything is just booming out there," he said. "We need to really look at those issues very carefully -- transportation being at the top of the list."