Return Abercrombie to U.S. House seat
Rep. Neil Abercrombie faces a challenge by Republican Richard A. "Noah" Hough in his re-election bid.
DEMOCRATS are given a good chance this year of becoming the majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives. If that happens, Rep. Neil Abercrombie's seniority would land him the chairmanship of an important armed services subcommittee. Voters should realize that potential in sending him back to Washington for his ninth full term.
Abercrombie, representing urban Honolulu, is a member of the Armed Services Subcommittee and the ranking Democrat on the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee. If the Democrats outnumber Republicans in next year's House, Abercrombie said he expects the Armed Services subcommittees will be restructured to focus on different branches. He would become chairman of one of the subcommittees, such as one focusing on the Army or the Marine Corps.
In any event, Abercrombie has played an important role complementing that of Sen. Dan Inouye, ranking Democrat on the Senate appropriations subcommittee on defense. Together, they are able to bring billions of military construction and nonconstruction dollars into the state.
We share Abercrombie's concern about the war in Iraq, but differ with his call for the withdrawal of troops regardless of whether the Iraqi government is able to withstand insurgents. He is liberal on most issues but is willing to break Democratic ranks when it benefits Hawaii. He has voted to repeal the federal estate tax because it could harm small family businesses in the islands.
Abercrombie faces Republican Richard A. "Noah" Hough, 35, a former Army major who served 11 years and received assignments in Rwanda, Bosnia and, most recently, Iraq. He now works as a consultant for the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks.
Hough believes the U.S. invasion of Iraq was a mistake -- he tells of throwing an orange at his television set when Bush announced it -- but believes, as we do, that a premature withdrawal would destabilize the region.
A moderate on most issues and a sharp critic of the Bush administration, Hough's knowledge and drive could make him a capable congressman -- someday. But this is not the year for him to seek a U.S. House seat, nor is Abercrombie the incumbent who needs to be replaced.
Abercrombie served stints on the City Council and in the state House and Senate before running for Congress in 1986. Hough has not held public office and would be wise to do so at a lower level than Congress to gain political experience and public notice.
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