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Tuesday, September 02, 2014         

LEE CATALUNA


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Pull up stakes, Colleen, and move to your district

By Lee Cataluna

POSTED:



OK, Colleen, time to call Island Movers.

For $900,000, Colleen Hanabusa can buy a fairly new three-bedroom, three-bath in Mililani Mauka. The major drawback of the property -- the grueling drive into town every day -- wouldn't be a factor for her because she's going to be in Washington.

If close to a million dollars is a bit much for a home-of-convenience to adhere to a campaign promise, there's a house in Aiea selling for $400,000. It's a 70-year-old fixer-upper with mix-and-match plywood holding up one exterior wall. A little pricey for a tear-down, but it's within walking distance to the bus stop.

Congress does not require its members to live within the district they represent, though they must live in the state. There are arguments that it doesn't really matter where a representative to Congress lives, so long as they understand the district.

Of course, those arguments come mostly from the out-of-district candidates themselves. The people who actually live in the district tend to want their lawmaker to drive the same potholes and suffer the same neighborhood ills as they do.

Hawaii might be a small state, but we're full of contrasting microcosms and hyper-regional issues. The differences between the 1st and 2nd congressional districts are dramatic. A new house in Ko Olina is very different from an old house in Waipahu or a townhouse in Mililani or an apartment in Waikiki.

Hanabusa acknowledged this last month when she promised to move if she won the race.

"While I am proud of my roots on Oahu's Leeward Coast, and while it has been an honor to serve the 21st District in the Hawaii State Senate for the past 12 years, I have said since the beginning of this campaign that if the voters honor me by electing me to Congress, I will move into the 1st Congressional District," she said in a campaign news release.

It would have been nice if she made the commitment to the district before she asked people in the district to vote for her, but maybe she can't be blamed for hedging her bet during a recession. Moving for a job is expensive.

She did, though, ding opponent Charles Djou for moving into the 2nd District to run for City Council. However, the rules are different for City Council, and Djou moved to the district in order to run. He bought a house in Hawaii Kai before winning a seat on the Council. Some might call that opportunistic. Others would see it as a big commitment to serve.

Time now for Hanabusa to step up and call a Realtor.

Or maybe Hanabusa and Hirono can swap houses since Mazie represents rural Oahu and the neighbor islands from a home near Kahala.

Lee Cataluna can be reached at lcataluna@staradvertiser.com.






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