Neil Abercrombie (born June 26, 1938) is the 7th and current Governor of Hawaii. He was the Democratic U.S. Representative of the First Congressional District of Hawaii which comprises urban Honolulu. He served in Congress from 1986 to 1987 and from 1991 to 2010 when he resigned to successfully run for governor. He was also a state legislator and member of the Honolulu City Council.
Abercrombie was born in Buffalo, New York, to Vera June and Donald Abercrombie.Upon graduating from Williamsville High School (now Williamsville South High School), he went on to pursue studies in sociology at Union College in Schenectady, New York. There, Abercrombie obtained his bachelor's degree in 1959. He arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii a month after statehood in September 1959 to study at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa where he earned a master's degree in sociology and later a doctorate in American Studies. There he attended classes with, and befriended, current United States President Barack Obama's parents, Ann Dunham and Barack Obama, Sr.
Abercrombie first participated in a political campaign in 1970, seeking the Democratic nomination to the United States Senate. Unsuccessful, Abercrombie ran for the Hawaii State House of Representatives where he served from 1975 to 1979. He moved to the Hawaii State Senate, where he served from 1980 to 1986. After Representative Cecil Heftel resigned from the United States Congress in July 1986 to run for Governor of Hawaiʻi, Abercrombie was elected to the House in a September 1986 special election to complete Heftel's unexpired term. However, on the same day Abercrombie lost the Democratic primary for a full two-year term to Mufi Hannemann, who went on to lose to Republican Pat Saiki in the general election. Abercrombie then set his sights on a seat of the Honolulu City Council. He won the race and served from 1988 to 1990.
At the end of his council tenure, Abercrombie once again ran for Congress and won in 1990, and has since been reelected ten times. In the 2008 election, he won with 70.6% of the vote.
Neil Abercrombie was a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and compiled a generally liberal voting record. He supported and voted for the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.On October 10, 2002, he was among the 133 members of the House who voted against authorizing the invasion of Iraq.He cosponsored H.R. 1312 (Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2005) on July 28, 2005.He took issue with the Vatican over not listing torture as a sin. According to Project Vote Smart, Abercrombie holds the following issue positions. He is pro-choice, and has voted against a ban on partial birth abortion. He voted with the interests of NARAL and Planned Parenthood 100% between 2000 and 2006. He has voted for bills designed to make it easier for Americans to vote, such as the motor voter bill. He has advocated strongly for civil liberties; his voting record is supported by both the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and American Library Association. He has also voted against a constitutional amendment proposed in 2006 to limit marriage to being between one man and one woman.Notably, he was one of only nine representatives not to cast a vote for or against the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001.In 2005, he voted against the extension of the act, calling it “a blank check to trample civil liberties."In 2007, he signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 676, which would have established a national health insurance program.He resigned from Congress on February 28, 2010, three weeks before the House vote on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590).
Governor of Hawaii
On Sunday, March 9, 2009, he announced his intention to again run for Governor of Hawaii instead of running for an 11th term.On December 11, 2009 he announced that he would resign from Congress to concentrate on his gubernatorial bid. He was succeeded in Congress by Republican Charles Djou, the first Republican elected to Congress from Hawaii since Congresswoman Pat Saiki. Abercrombie definitively defeated his challenger, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, in the heated 2010 Democratic gubernatorial primary election on September 18, 2010, 59.3 percent to 37.7 percent. On November 2, 2010, Neil Abercrombie defeated his Republican opponent James Aiona by a margin of 57.8% to 40.8% to become Hawaii's 7th governor. Abercrombie was sworn in as Governor of Hawaii on December 6, 2010, the first gubernatorial victor of the 2010 election cycle to be sworn in office. He succeeded Republican Governor Linda Lingle. He will be up for re-election as Governor in 2014. Abercrombie was 72 when he was sworn in as governor, and was the oldest current United States governor for a little less than a month. On January 3, 2011, he lost that title to Jerry Brown of California, who is two months older than Abercrombie. When Abercrombie took office, he vowed to end the conspiracy theories surrounding President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. A spokesperson for Abercrombie said he would ask the office of the Attorney General what they can do.State Attorney General David M. Louie informed Abercrombie that state privacy laws prevent the release of "an individual's birth documentation without the person's consent" to persons who do not have "a tangible interest". In February 2011 Abercrombie signed into law a bill legalizing civil unions. His predecessor, Linda Lingle, had previously vetoed the legislation.
In 1981, Abercrombie married Nancie Caraway,who is a political scientist and feminist writer at the University of Hawaii-Manoa's Globalization Research Center. Abercrombie is an avid weightlifter and has a stated goal of lifting 200 lbs more than his age on each birthday.On his 72nd birthday, he bench pressed 272 lbs. In 2006 Abercrombie was named "Scot of the Year" by the Caledonian Society of Hawaii. Abercrombie currently resides in the Manoa Valley area of Honolulu, Hawaii.
May 3rd, 2011