In a move that will rock the political landscape in Hawaii, U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa announced today that she will file papers to establish her campaign committee to stage a challenge to Democratic incumbent Gov. David Ige.
Hanabusa has represented the 1st Congressional District that includes urban Honolulu for five years. Her decision to run against Ige sets up a what will be a hard-fought Democratic primary race in 2018, and will also likely prompt a scramble among candidates who hope to replace Hanabusa in Congress.
“I am fourth generation from Waianae,” Hanabusa said in a written statement. “I have had the honor and privilege of serving a community who was forgotten and ignored by many. I know what it means to be focused and steadfast of the challenges and I know the difficulties in bringing about major changes.”
“Throughout my career, I have fortunately gained the skill set and the experience to address the issues facing us. Hawaii is the best place to be in our great country. I believe we need experienced leadership to continue the Hawaii that I care so deeply about and love,” she said in her statement.
Hanabusa has served 17 years in elected office, including 12 years in the state Senate. She was Hawaii’s first woman state Senate president, a job she held for her last four years in that chamber.
The statement today from the Hanabusa campaign “comes to address the speculation as to whether Hanabusa will run for governor,” according to the statement.
“Who receives the honor to serve as the governor of our great state will be determined by the people, a fact that Hanabusa never forgets,” the statement said. “Her candidacy will offer a choice to the voters of someone who is a fighter, leader and able to tackle difficult problems as her record shows.”