DC808 { How do decisions in Washington, D.C., affect life in Hawaii? Civil Beat is in the nation's capital to find out.

Anderson Joins Ige Seeking Speech Time at Democratic Party Convention

civilbeat:

Honolulu Councilman Ikaika Anderson, one of seven Democrats running for the 1st Congressional District seat, supports equal time for major candidates at the Democratic Party of Hawaii's convention next month.

Anderson’s request, issued today, follows demands made this week by state Sen. David Ige to also be allowed to deliver a speech. Ige, who is challenging Gov. Neil Abercrombie, was told by party officials that candidates running for statewide office would not be allowed to address the convention from the podium, as has been customary.

Only top elected officials — including Abercrombie, the congressional delegation and Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, one of Anderson’s opponents — will be granted speaking slots. The reason given is that convention time has been shortened this year.

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Photo: Top Hawaii Democrats sing at the close of their state convention, Sheraton Waikiki, May 27, 2012. (Civil Beat)

—Chad Blair

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Gabbard Part of Congressional Group to Visit Japan, China, South Korea

civilbeat:

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will be part of bipartisan congressional delegation traveling to Japan, South Korea and China to meet with leaders in those countries.

"The meetings will focus on economic growth and trade, regional security challenges, and strengthening our alliances in the region," according to a press release from Gabbard’s office.

Tomorrow, the delegation will also visit with U.S. Pacific Command leaders in Hawaii for a roundtable discussion before they head to Asia.

The delegation includes House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL).

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Photo: Map of East Asia circa 1930s. (david)

—Chad Blair

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One Year Later, Hirono Disappointed Still No Immigration Reform

civilbeat:

On the one-year anniversary of the introduction of the U.S. Senate's immigration reform bill, Sen. Mazie Hirono expressed dismay that the U.S. House of Representatives has not taken up the cause.

"Not only would our bill strengthen our economy and reduce the deficit, but it would also help real people by bringing millions of families out of the shadows, reunifying Filipino World War II veterans with their children and making DREAM Act students eligible for federal student aid,” Hirono said in a press release. “Each day House Republicans fail to act, families are suffering and are kept apart.”

According to her office, Hirono is the U.S. Senate’s only immigrant

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Photo: Sen. Mazie Hirono, center, with Maui Police Department representatives in Washington, D.C., March 25, 2014. (Sen. Mazie Hirono)

—Chad Blair

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Schatz Still Leads Hanabusa in Campaign Cash Haul for U.S. Senate

civilbeat:

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz continues to hold a fundraising edge over his challenger, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

Both campaigns released limited campaign information about how much money they raised in the last quarter, which covers Jan. 1 to March 31.

More information will become available as it’s posted to the Federal Election Commission website.

Schatz brought in $601,324, upping his total fundraising amount to just over $4 million. That outpaces Hanabusa, who brought in $427,860 in the last quarter for a total of $2,063,926 raised since entering the race.

Schatz’s campaign also provided summary pages for the quarter showing that he has spent about $1.6 million throughout the election cycle, leaving him with about $2.4 million in cash on hand.

The expenditures aren’t too surprising considering he’s already run two TV spots. Hanabusa has yet to air any ads.

Civil Beat has asked Hanabusa’s campaign for her quarterly campaign finance summary pages, but has yet to get a response.

You can look at Schatz’s summary pages here:

Photo: U.S. Senate building in Washington, D.C. (Via Flickr courtesy of Ron Cogswell).

—Nick Grube

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Kim Adds $250K to Campaign War Chest for Congressional Bid

civilbeat:

Hawaii Senate President Donna Mercado Kim leads the money race in a growing field of candidates running for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

With the Democratic primary less than four months away, Kim had $534,893 to spend on her campaign, according to the latest reports filed Tuesday with the Federal Elections Commission.

She hauled in $251,641 during the first quarter of 2014, edging out her competitors, Honolulu City Councilman Stanley Chang, state Rep. Mark Takai, Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson and state Sen. Will Espero.

Check out how the other candidates did here.

Nathan Eagle

Photo: Senate President Donna Mercado Kim speaks to reporters in 2012. (Civil Beat file)

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Hawaii’s U.S. Senate Race Has a New Republican Candidate

civilbeat:

Republican businessman Cam Cavasso has once again entered the race for U.S. Senate, officially announcing his bid Tuesday.

This makes Cavasso one of three Republican so far to announce a challenge to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, who is locked in a tight primary battle with U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

Cavasso, a former state representative from Waimanalo, ran for Senate in 2010 against then-U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye. He was crushed, only pulling in 20 percent of the vote.

Considering Hawaii’s predilection for Democrats, it’s unlikely the outcome will be much different this time around.

Photo: Cam Cavasso (Screen shot)

—Nick Grube

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Gore to Headline Schatz Fundraiser Tonight

civilbeat:

Blue Planet Foundation founder Henk Rogers and his wife will host a campaign fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz tonight in Honolulu.

Former Vice President Al Gore, who announced his support for Schatz last year, will be the guest of honor. Other “prominent individuals” are said to be on the invite list.

Gore is also headlining a Hawaii sustainability conference tomorrow.

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Photo: Al Gore. (Mikael Grevsten)

—Chad Blair

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Hawaii Lawmakers Push for Extension of Brand USA

civilbeat:

Big Island Now has the story. Excerpt:

Hawaii’s congressional delegation has introduced a bill designed to continue a boost to international tourism.

The Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act would reauthorize Brand USA for five more years.

Sen. Brian Schatz said the travel promotion program last year increased inbound travel by 2.3 percent, resulting in 1.1 million more visitors to the U.S.

Schatz said Brand USA helps promote Hawaii as a world-class visitor destination.

Schatz and Sen. Mazie Hirono were among the bill’s co-sponsors on the Senate side. In the House, the legislation was introduced by members of the Congressional Travel & Tourism Caucus, of which both Hawaii Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Colleen Hanabusa are members.

“Hawaii uniquely depends on tourism as the single-largest driver of our local economy,” Gabbard said in a statement.

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Photo: Fueling up at HNL. (H. Michael Miley)

—Chad Blair

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Baldwin High School Student Wins Congressional Arts Award

civilbeat:

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard today presented Megan Matsuoka from Baldwin High School with the Congressional Arts Award for her mixed media piece, “Take Off.”

Earning first place in the contest, according to Gabbard’s office, means the work will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol alongside winners from all other congressional districts. Gabbard hosted the awards ceremony at the state Capitol.

Each of today’s winners were awarded cash prizes. 

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Photo: “Take Off,” mixed media, Megan Matsuoka. (Rep. Tulsi Gabbard)

—Chad Blair

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Equality Hawaii Endorses Takai for Congress

civilbeat:

Equality Hawaii, which advocates for social justice and fairness, has endorsed state Rep. Mark Takai for the U.S. Congress.

“Equality Hawaii is proud to support Mark Takai for Congress,” said Equality Hawaii Action Fund Chair Jacce Mikulanec. ”The courage and leadership he demonstrated in helping to pass marriage equality last year earned him the gratitude and respect of our Board.”

Equality Hawaii led the fight to pass same-sex marriage last year. Takai opposed civil unions in 2010 and in 2011 but supported marriage equality legislation in 2013.

State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, who leads the race for CD1 in recent polls, voted against marriage equality.

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Photo: Rep. Mark Takai. (PF Bentley/Civil Beat)

—Chad Blair

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Hanabusa, Gabbard Vote ‘No’ On House GOP Budget

civilbeat:

Hawaii Reps. Colleen Hanabusa and Tulsi Gabbard were in the minority of a 219-205 vote today to approve Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) final budget “as Republicans charged into a midterm election battle with Democrats over the size of government.”

Like last year’s budget, the new blueprint would balance within 10 years by making $5 trillion in cuts to spending, while avoiding tax increases. It would make deep cuts to Medicaid and food stamps, while converting Medicare to an optional private system for future seniors,” according to this report in The Hill.

Ryan’s plan “will have no immediate effect on policy,” however, as the Senate is not doing a budget resolution this year, since a budget agreement was already reached in December.

“The Ryan Budget is riddled with the same bad policies and broken values we see have seen year after year from this Republican majority,” Hanabusa said in a press release after the vote. “It puts corporations and the wealthy before working, middle class families, while severely threatening women, seniors, students, and our nation’s ability to be competitive with the rest of the world.”

Said Gabbard in her own press release, “Though I support elements of the Ryan budget that seek to eliminate waste and reduce the deficit, and provide increased funding for national security, the draconian cuts to key programs like Medicare, Social Security, and nutrition assistance found in the Ryan budget, along with a likely increase in taxes for hard-working middle-class Americans in order to lower taxes for the ultra-wealthy, are not acceptable and result in hurting our kupuna and families.”

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Photo: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan. (Gage Skidmore)

—Chad Blair

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Schatz Advocates for Bill to Protect Consumers from Credit Report Errors

civilbeat:

Sen. Brian Schatz has co-introduced a measure aimed at making it easier for people to dispute errors in their credit reports. 

Schatz introduced the measure, called the Stop Errors in Credit Use and Reporting Act of 2014, along with Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)

A report by the Consumers Union found that 40 million Americans have mistakes on their credit reports. 

“Errors in a credit report can make the difference between whether or not someone can live the American Dream and buy a home or even get a job,” Schatz said.  “Our legislation will make credit reports more accurate, help people to correct any mistakes, give federal agencies more tools to enforce the law, and hold reporting agencies and data furnishers accountable for their mistakes.”

Sen. Brian Schatz (Courtesy of Brian Schatz)

— Anita Hofschneider

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Hirono Pushes Visa Waiver Bill Aimed at Boosting Tourism

civilbeat:

Sen. Mazie Hirono is advocating for a bill aimed at encouraging tourism from Hong Kong, Macau and other territories.

Hirono introduced the measure known as the Subnational Visa Waiver Program Act along with Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

The bill would give the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to allow subnational territories to join the US visa waiver program, which allows residents to visit the US for 90 days or less without a visa.

Hirono emphasized how the bill could help increase employment in the tourism industry. 

“The bipartisan support for the Subnational Visa Waiver Program Act speaks to the strong impact this bill would have on jobs and our economy,” said Senator Hirono. “Travel and tourism support 14.4 million American jobs, with one in eight of all private sector jobs supported by travel, and this bill will help our country develop opportunities in new foreign markets.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono (Courtesy of Mazie Hirono)

— Anita Hofschneider

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Hirono, Schatz Vote on Losing Side of Paycheck Fairness Act

civilbeat:

U.S. Senate Republicans today blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, “a bill crafted by Democrats to appeal to women voters in the midterm election.”

"Democrats needed 60 votes to advance the legislation but fell short in a 53-44 vote,” according to this report in The Hill. “Not a single Republican voted to end the dilatory debate, and Independent Angus King (Maine), who caucuses with Democrats, voted with Republicans.”

Hawaii Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz voted in the majority that fell short of the necessary votes.

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Photo: U.S. Capitol. (Cliff)

—Chad Blair

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Rep. Gabbard Warns of Military Budget Cuts on CNN

civilbeat:

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was once again part of the Sunday political talk shows. Here’s a report from CNN:

While investigators continue to piece together the events from last week’s shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, members of Congress and senior brass of the military said the country faces a difficult time as service members return home from wars that have gone on for 13 years, to a nation trying to cut its budget.

“We have to make sure we are not digging into the pockets of our service members,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” referring to continued budget cuts.

Gabbard, who served in combat in Iraq as a member of the Hawaii National Guard, said care for returning service members must be the country’s highest priority.

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Photo: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and CNN’s Candy Crowley. (Twitter)

—Chad Blair

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