Saturday, March 02, 2024 |
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KAILUA-KONA — Former Congressman Ed Case, a native of Hilo and a graduate of Hawaii Preparatory Academy, is lacing up his running shoes after six years on the political sidelines.
A fiscally conservative Democrat who served the state’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2002-07, Case pulled papers Monday and filed for entry Tuesday into the primary for Hawaii’s 1st District seat, which represents urban Oahu.
Case said the void left by Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, who took her leave from Capitol Hill to challenge Gov. David Ige for control of the statehouse, is one he can fill better than his opponents.
His competition includes Lt. Gov. and former Attorney General Doug Chin, Honolulu City Councilman Ernie Martin, state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, and state Reps. Kaniela Ing and Beth Fukumoto.
“This is not going be on-the-job training for me,” Case said. “I’m going to hit the ground running from day one. That’s really critical right now. I think you’ve got to know your way around Washington and know how to solve problems.”
Case added economic maintenance will be his primary concern if Hawaii voters elect him to office.
He said overall economic health and sustainable government-sponsored programs are key not only to continue robust economic growth in Hawaii, particularly within the tourism sector, but to maintain the state’s needed social safety net, be it in the form of education, substance abuse outreach or basic assistance.
“The economy feels pretty good right now, but its underpinnings always need to be shored up,” Case said. “That’s always been my strength, maintaining an economic foundation.”
Case believes his work over the last five years as senior vice president and chief legal officer for Outrigger Enterprises, coupled with his political experience, makes him uniquely suited for the job.
Before his time on Capitol Hill, Case served as a state Rep. from 1994-2002. He lost narrowly to U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono in Hawaii’s Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2002 before heading to Washington.
His time in elected office ended after he fell short in a Democratic primary bid for the U.S. Senate against the late-Sen. Daniel Akaka in 2006.
Case went on to lose a special election in 2010 for U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s seat after Abercrombie resigned to run for governor. In 2012, Case again faced off and fell short against Hirono, this time for Akaka’s place in the Senate following his retirement.
In 2013, Case announced he was leaving politics for the private sector, likely for good. But he said the current state of Congress is what drew him back into the political arena.
“Congress is broken and it’s getting worse,” Case said. “It’s time to do a little less yelling at each other and a little more talking.”
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