Question: Whatever happened to Colleen Hanabusa’s pledge last year to move into Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District if she were elected to the urban Honolulu seat?
Answer: Hanabusa won the Nov. 2 election, but seven months later her home continues to be in Ko Olina, in the 2nd Congressional District (suburban Oahu-neighbor islands).
Her spokeswoman, Ashley Nagaoka, said Hanabusa is looking to move soon into the district she represents and has her Ko Olina single-family home on the market.
Under federal law, a candidate for Congress does not have to live in the district for which he or she is seeking office,just in the state. Hawaii has two U.S. House districts, with the 1st District covering the area from Hawaii Kai to Mililani, Waipahu and Ewa. The 2nd District encompasses the rest of Oahu and the neighbor islands.
During last fall’s election campaign, Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Djou often made the point that his Democratic challenger, Hanabusa, could not vote for herself because she did not live in the district. Djou lives in Hawaii Kai — in the 1st District.
Hanabusa, who was raised in Waianae and represented the Leeward Coast in the state Senate, said in October that she would move into the 1st Congressional District if elected.
Hanabusa defeated Djou in the general election and was sworn in Jan. 3.
Hanabusa is planning to rent an apartment in the 1st District until her Ko Olina home is sold and she is free to buy a new home in the district, Nagaoka said. Hanabusa has expressed interest in a downtown Honolulu apartment, Nagaoka said. "She has (an apartment) building in mind and she is just waiting until she gets back this month to look at it," said Nagaoka, who added that Hanabusa will be in Hawaii twice this month. "She is working hard to get this done because it’s what she promised."
Nagaoka said Hanabusa’s Ko Olina home has been on the market since April and that there are prospective buyers. The home, which was built in 2004, is on the market for $1.25 million. The single-family home has three bedrooms, 2 1⁄2 baths, and a swimming pool. Nagaoka attributes the house not being sold yet to the current housing market and economic situation. Hanabusa and her husband, former state Sheriff John Souza, are using the services of a Realtor to sell the house.
Souza continues to live in the couple’s Ko Olina home, Nagaoka said.
This update was written by Lynn Nakagawa. Suggest a topic for "Whatever Happened To …" by writing Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210, Honolulu 96813; call 529-4747; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.