Isle Congressmen Probably Will Be 'Middle-of-Road'


POSTED: Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How will Hawaii's two U.S. Senators and one Representative vote on key national issues?

Party leaders and top candidates for these posts say the men Hawaii will send to Congress probably would class as “;middle-of-the-road liberals,”; no matter to which political party they belong.

If parallels are needed, they say, Hawaii's Representatives might resemble, in their thinking on national issues, men like California's Earl Warren, Minnesota's Hubert Humphrey, Illinois' Paul Douglas or Louisiana's Russell Long.

“;We won't send any Senator Eastlands to Washington,”; says one local politician. “;They couldn't get elected here.”;


Party officials say Hawaii's representatives will be enthusiastic, positive supporters of civil rights legislation—including fair employment practices bills—but probably won't take the lead in initiating new civil rights programs.

Says Oahu Democrat Daniel K. Inouye, a probable candidate for the U.S. Senate:

“;Hawaiian Statehood, after all, is part of the civil rights package. Our congressmen cannot back off and double-talk once Statehood has been granted.


“;But it is very unlikely that they will sponsor new civil rights legislation, because the problems are not as intense in Hawaii as there are elsewhere in the country—either north or south.”;

Foreign relations will be an area of extreme concern to Hawaii's congressmen, almost everyone agrees, and they undoubtedly will seek re-examination of U.S. foreign policy as it affects nations of the Pacific basin.

Their eyes may be primarily focused on Asia, but many of Hawaii's political leaders fought with distinction on Europe's World War II battlefields, and they will be equally conscious of Europe's importance in world affairs.

Hawaii's economy is heavily dependent on the status of its two major industries, both agricultural: sugar and pineapples. Anything that hurts them also hurts the Territory as a whole.

Isle representatives in Congress certainly will strive to assist these two industries—increased sugar quotas and price supports have been suggested—and may team up with representatives of other western agricultural states as a practical means of bolstering their influence.

Hawaii's geographical proximity to the western U.S. will weigh strongly in any alignments it may make on domestic issues. Many of the West's specific, local problems are equally pressing here—among them reclamation and conservation of natural resources.


Communism and cold war tensions will be of acute concern to congressmen from Hawaii. Few Hawaiians will forget Pearl Harbor, or the fact that the Islands—as headquarters of the nation's Pacific defense organization—still must rank high on the list of top-priority military targets for any bellicose enemy of the U.S.

Hawaii has its internal Communist problem under effective control, but it remains on the alert for flare-us which could cripple the Island economy.

Chief concern still is focused on the I.L.W.U., which controls the work on Hawaii's docks and n the sugar and pineapple industries.

Hawaii's congressmen may well seek Federal legislation to prevent union tieups of the Isle waterfront, similar to the 1949 dock strike which knocked the bottom out of the Territory's economy.