Thursday, January 09, 2014

In Hawaii's Senate Contest The Best Feminist Is A Man


Both of Hawai`i's U.S. Senators rank high in Progressive Punch ratings; Hanabusa seeks to break up the partnership

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz is a proud feminist-- with a record of achievement to prove it. And he's running for reelection on it, despite a big money challenge by conservative New Dem, Colleen Hanabusa, backed by corrupt war industry contractors and, predictably (albeit sadly), EMILY's List.

He has an entire section of his campaign website devoted to reproductive freedom.

And he's an original co-sponsor of the Women's Health Protection Act-- top-priority legislation for advocates of reproductive health and freedom.

He has long recognized that marriage equality is a feminist issue and has been a stalwart defender of the right to marry. His campaign also devotes an entire page to marriage equality.

Senator Schatz has described legendary Hawai`i Congresswoman Patsy Mink-- the co-author of Title IX-- as one of his role models.

His wife, Linda Kwok Kai Yun Schatz, holds a Pd.D and is an accomplished architect, and he often celebrates the inspirational aspects of her professional and academic successes.

Senator Schatz was the first to co-sponsor Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's bill for paid family and medical leave.

Despite a strongly progressive record in progressive Hawai`i, Senator Schatz is being challenged in the August 9 Democratic primary by Hanabusa, a sleazy careerist with an egregiously corrupt record in Hawaiian politics.

Hanabusa has been in Congress for 3 years after serving 12 years in the Hawai`i State Senate. While a State Senator, she once considered mounting a primary challenge from the right against Mink. After Mink's death, she ran unsuccessfully for the seat long held by Mink. In that 2006 campaign, she accurately noted she isn't as liberal as Mink was. (In that race, Mink's family endorsed Mazie Hirono, who won the election and has since become Schatz's partner in the Senate, arguably forming the most progressive tandem of any state-- which Hanabusa is trying to break up.)

Indeed, Hanabusa has eschewed the Mink-founded Congressional Progressive Caucus in favor of the Wall Street-funded and owned New Democrat Coalition, the 2014 version of the Blue Dogs, the Republican wing of the Democratic Party.

In the Hawai`i State Legislature, Hanabusa formed a bloc with other conservative-leaning senators, including several opposed to choice and affiliated with the Religious Right. She failed to seek passage of legislation for emergency contraception and civil unions after vetoes by Republican Governor Linda Lingle. (Lingle appointed Hanabusa's husband as State Sheriff.) Her tenure was marked by support for privatization and anti-labor "reforms," in addition to the Hanabusa-led firing of a female Attorney General who had the audacity to investigate previously untouchable political figures.

In D.C., Hanabusa hasn't prioritized feminist issues. She sits on the Armed Services and Natural Resources committees. In theory, she could use those platforms to fight for peace, the welfare of troops and their families and environmental protection. In reality, she's focused on the needs of defense contractors and polluters and finding rich donors to funnel money into her husband's bank account.

The choice for feminists in this year's Hawai`i Senate race is clear. You can help keep this seat progressive here at the Blue America ActBlue page.

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