Congressional candidates
square off

6 people want to unseat
Patsy Mink in the 2nd District

By Crystal Kua

Republican candidate for congress Bob McDermott is making a campaign issue out of U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink's voting record on anti-terrorism bills.

"I'm absolutely convinced when we make her record public, the people of Hawaii will say 'no' to Mrs. Mink," said McDermott.

But Mink responded that her job requires her to look at the impact of the entire legislation.

"It appears to me that (state) Rep. McDermott would vote for any bill if it has a nice-sounding title," Mink said in a written response.

"As a member of Congress and a representative of the people, I am duty bound to read the legislation and vote to protect our state and its people first and foremost."

McDermott is one of six people trying to unseat Mink, who represents the 2nd Congressional District (rural Oahu-neighbor islands).

He has previously questioned Mink's voting record on anti-terrorism legislation, but at a news conference yesterday, he also criticized her more recent votes including her "no" vote on the Homeland Security Act, which would set up a Department of Homeland Security.

"This is President Bush's initiative. If I went there (to Washington), I'd certainly stand with my shoulder to the wheel and help him get his through. She voted 'no,'" McDermott said.

Mink said the proposed new department would merge 22 departments and agencies and would change the work situation for 170,000 employees.

Under the bill, these employees would lose seniority rights, collective-bargaining rights and whistle-blower rights, she said. Also compromised would be the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which would lose its autonomy in becoming a subagency as well as the release of public information under the Freedom of Information Act, Mink said.

The congresswoman said she supports the creation of a new department to better coordinate services, but not at the expense of the merit system, the public's right to know and FEMA.

Mink said 132 other members of Congress also voted against the bill as it passed the House last week.

McDermott faces James M. Donovan in the Republican primary, while Mink faces Steve Tataii in the Democratic primary. Also running are Nicholas Bedworth, Natural Law Party, and Libertarians Lawrence Duquesne and Jeff Mallan.

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