For Democratic rivals Brian Schatz and Colleen Hanabusa, politics is all about relationships.
Schatz says he’s been surprised at how many friends he’s made as a freshman U.S. senator. Hanabusa says her time in state government before getting to the U.S. House shows how she’s earned respect and confidence of peers.
And both candidates vying to fill the rest of deceased U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye’s term through 2016 say Hawaii needs those relationships. The candidates took part in their first debate Tuesday night on Kauai.
Schatz, the incumbent appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie after Inouye’s death in 2012, says he’s been working with lawmakers he often disagrees with on issues where they share common ground. Hanabusa, Inouye’s favored pick to succeed him, says collaboration is key in a Republican-dominated House.