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Congressional hopefuls face off


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POSTED: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The economy, education and other issues were on the agenda last night as the three major candidates in the special congressional election faced off in another head-to-head debate.

Democrats Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa and Republican Charles Djou debated the issues last night at the Willows restaurant in Moiliili, in a fourth forum between the three front-runners.

The candidates stuck mostly to the script, as Case cast himself as the most experienced candidate, Hanabusa pitching herself as the most collaborative and Djou defining himself as the reform-minded independent.

The forum, hosted by the community group Moiliili Matters, included only questions submitted by its members and the roughly 150 people in attendance. Among the first questions was whether they would vote to per- petuate tax cuts enacted under the Bush administration.

Hanabusa was clear that she would not vote to continue those tax cut measures, but she supported other steps taken by the federal government under President Barack Obama. She noted that stimulus dollars were put to use to balance the state budget.

“;I disagree that the stimulus did not work,”; she said.

Djou repeated his stance that he does not believe federal spending programs such as “;Cash for Clunkers”; and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have worked, but only further put future generations in debt.

“;Each one of you should ask yourself personally, have you personally benefited from the stimulus package?”; Djou said.

Case said he agreed with some of the Bush tax cuts, but argued against others as “;unaffordable and unnecessary to stimulate economic recovery.”;

He also appeared to challenge Djou for not specifically answering whether he would continue the tax cuts under Bush.

“;What are the mechanisms you propose specifically to balance the budget?”; Case asked rhetorically. “;You can't talk around the generality. Sooner or later you have to focus on the specific vote.”;

The candidates are running in a special election to replace Neil Abercrombie, who resigned from Congress in February to concentrate on a run for governor.

Ballots for the mail-in election are scheduled to be mailed out at the end of the month, with results to be tallied May 22.