Colleen Wakako Hanabusa (born May 4, 1951) is the U.S. Representative for Hawaii's 1st congressional district. She is a member of the Democratic Party. She was formerly a member of the Hawaii Senate, representing the 21st District since 1998. She served as the Senate Majority Leader, before being elected Hawaii's first woman President of the Senate in 2006, making her the first Asian American woman to preside over a state legislative chamber in the United States. She is the third Buddhist elected to United States Congress, and the fourth woman to be elected to Congress from the state of Hawaii (after Patsy Mink, Pat Saiki, and Mazie Hirono). On August 24, 2011, she announced her intention to run for re-election to her current seat in Congress.
Early life and education
A fourth-generation American of Japanese ancestry, Colleen Hanabusa grew up in Waiʻanae with her two younger brothers, her parents, and her grandparents. In 1969 she graduated from St. Andrew's Priory. She received her B.A. in Economics & Sociology in 1973 and her M.A. in Sociology in 1975 from the University of Hawai'i and in 1977 received her J.D. from the University of Hawai'i's William S. Richardson School of Law.
Colleen Hanabusa is a labor lawyer with almost 30 years of experience, and a corporate officer in a family-run corporation. She has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America, Woodward and White, Inc., served as a delegate to the Hawai`i State Judicial Conference, and was noted in Honolulu Magazine's to be One of Hawai`i's A+ Attorneys in 1993 and subsequent years.
In November 1998, Colleen Hanabusa was elected as the State Senator from the 21st District. The 21st District includes Wai'anae, where her family has resided for four generations, as well as Ko 'Olina, Kahe Point, Nanakuli, Ma'ili, Makaha, Makua and Ka'ena Point.
One of Hanabusa's first acts upon being elected was to organize Senators to vote against second term confirmation of Hawaii Attorney General Margery Bronster.
Hanabusa served as the Senate Majority Leader, before being elected the first woman President of the Senate in 2006 – making her the first Asian American woman to preside over a state legislative chamber in the United States. Hawaii Business Magazine.
In 2003 she was named one of Hawaii’s “top ten political power brokers” along with the state’s governor and two U.S. senators, by
Hanabusa previously ran unsuccessfully in a special election held in January 2003 replace the late Patsy T. Mink to represent Hawai'i's 2nd congressional district, and in 2006 for the seat being vacated by Representative Ed Case, a Blue Dog Democrat.
U.S. House of Representatives
Hanabusa ran unsuccessfully in the May 22, 2010 special election to serve out the remaining months of former Representative Neil Abercrombie's term; then-City Councilman Charles Djou defeated her without winning a majority of the votes due to the rules of the winner-take-all election that split the Democratic vote between Hanabusa and rival Ed Case, a moderate Democrat.
U.S. Senators Daniel K.
Inouye and Daniel Akaka supported Hanabusa's special election campaign and backed her again in the September Democratic primary. Some in the national Democratic Party indicated a preference for Case, who previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives before an unsuccessful U.S. Senate primary challenge to Akaka in 2006. The national Democratic leadership remained officially neutral.
On May 30, 2010, Case, citing his third place showing in the special election and to avoid a rift among Democrats that could lead to a Djou win in the November election, announced his withdrawal from the race and threw his support behind Hanabusa.
That placed Hanabusa as the top Democratic candidate in the September party primary, which she then won. Hanabusa subsequently challenged Djou for the same seat and on November 2 proceeded to win in the general election with a 53.2% to 46.8% margin.
Hanabusa has announced her intention to seek re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, instead of running to replace retiring U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka in the 2012 U.S. Senate elections.
After House GOP leader John Boehner (R-OH) pledged to give incumbent Congressman Charles Djou a seat on the Appropriations Committee, Senator Dan Inouye (D-HI) stated that Democrats would also name Hanabusa to Appropriations. However, House Democratic leadership instead appointed her to the Armed Services and Natural Resources committees.
Hanabusa is the third Buddhist to join the United States Congress, the others being Hank Johnson of Georgia and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. Hanabusa's election makes Hawaii the only state with a majority non-Christian House delegation.
October 23rd, 2011