Akaka Bill splits candidates


POSTED: Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Three candidates running in the special election for the 1st Congressional District seat agreed native Hawaiians should receive some form of federal recognition similar to American Indians.

But City Councilman Charles Djou and former U.S. Rep. Ed Case said they opposed the federal recognition bill pending in the U.S. Senate, while state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa supports it.

The debate, sponsored by the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs and broadcast on KGMB, KHNL and KFVE, sometimes became personal, with candidates exchanging verbal barbs.

At one point Djou, a Republican, said he was proud of his record of never voting for a tax increase for the past 10 years as a city councilman.

“;It must be nice when everything is so simple,”; said Case, a Democrat.

Djou later criticized Case for leaving his 2nd Congressional District seat to unsuccessfully run against U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, saying, “;Ed, things are simple when you put principle ahead of ambition.”;

Djou also attacked Hanabusa and Case for running in a congressional district where they are not residents.

;[Preview]  Leading Candidates Go Head-To-Head In Political Debate

A poll shows Republican Charles Djou eight points ahead of Democrat Ed Case.


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The candidates argued a wide range of issues from President Obama's economic reform to the Akaka Bill.

Djou said the bill should define native sovereignty only after talks have taken place with the state, and Case said the most recent version of the Akaka Bill leaves too much uncertainty in interpretation and the potential for litigation.

Hanabusa said the bill supports recognition similar to American Indians' and that there is enough case law to interpret the relationship between native Hawaiians and government entities.

Hanabusa, who has the backing of Akaka and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, said she had the kind of experience as state Senate president to get legislation passed in Congress.

Hanabusa said she supports Obama's financial reforms, while Case emphasized his experience as a former congressman and a political moderate who can work with Republicans and Democrats.

Djou said Obama's economic reform is not working and that he is against the continuation of excessive government spending.

Djou said Hawaii needs someone with a record of opposing higher taxes and wasteful government spending.

Case said he is for economic reform that prevents the recurrence of economic regulatory failures.