`A possible path’

August 13th, 2011

Gary Hooser, the director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control and a former Kauai state senator, said on Saturday that he is seriously thinking about entering the Democratic primary in the 2nd Congressional District.

In an email to supporters and a post on his website, Hooser described a congressional run as “a possible path” in his political ambition.

“I am seriously considering it,” he said in an interview. “I’m asking people who have supported me in the past what they think. I’m trying to evaluate the level of support.”

Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard and state Office of Hawaiian Affairs chief advocate Esther Kiaaina have announced campaigns in the Democratic primary to replace U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, who is running for U.S. Senate.

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann is poised to announce his intentions, perhaps by the end of the month.

Hooser would position himself as a candidate for the progressive wing of the party if he runs. He would also likely stress his Neighbor Island background to distinguish himself from the Oahu candidates.

The 2nd District covers rural Oahu and the Neighbor Islands.

Hooser was one of several Democrats who lost to Hirono in the 2nd District primary in 2006. He also lost in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor to Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz last year.

“I’m evaluating the support. I’m evaluating the field of candidates. It’s something that I think about every day, especially with everything that’s going on in Washington, D.C.,” he said. “It’s sad, depressing, and makes me a little angry at what’s going on. We need a change.”

6 Responses to “`A possible path’”

  1. Kolea:

    Looking at the field, this might be Hooser’s time. While Tulsi Gabbard has been getting some support in recent campaigns from behind-the-scene Democratic heavy-hitters, I suspect most of the institutional Democratic support will shift to Mufi if he enters the race. The independent, environmental and more liberal voters will likely cluster around Hooser. But Hooser’s small business background and Rotarian persona would likely broaden his support beyond the “progressive” wing of the electorate.

    Gabbard is probably trying to re-package herself to run for Congress, but I don’t think she’ll be able to escape her record of hurtful, anti-gay activities nor her enthusiastic endorsement of Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Second CD voters were unhappy with Ed Case’s support for the wars, but he looks like a peacenik compared to Tulsi’s organization, Stand Up for America, with its anti-Muslim and pro-Bush fervor.

    So looking at the field, if Hooser jumps into the race, I think he’s got a pretty good shot.

  2. galekaminari:

    We need a change, but you are not it, Gary. We need you where you are now. You seem like you just want to be a Congressman. I am not so sure that service to our people and community enters into your equation. We don’t think much of your taking the OEQC job and then bailing after a few months. Lots of stick-to-it-ness you have. Not. Why would we possibly want a fly-by-nighter for our next Congressperson? Just asking.

  3. Manoa_Fisherman:

    Geez, for a person who forgot to pay his taxes, he sure wants to get his hands on the peoples money.

  4. MightyMakiki:

    Yeah. Hooser, Progressive, ADA. Wasn’t he the hippie that helped stop the Inter-Island Ferry from jumping in to Kauai? Yeah, he’s my man

  5. Guido Sarducci:

    Hooser was standing out there at Nawiliwili Harbor egging them on. He doesn’t want us coming to “his” precious little island, but he wants us to send him to Congress.

  6. OahuSophist:

    I have to say, these arguments against the former State Senator running for Congress are weak, at best. For starters, I don’t think Gary has made any bones about wanting to serve in higher office and I personally think he’d be a marvelous representative for the State of Hawaii in Congress. Mazie has one of the best progressive voting records in the House and I think Gary would be the best person, given the current and possible field of candidates, to fill her shoes.

    With respect to the Superferry, I personally agreed with and supported Gary’s position. Governor Lingle and the Superferry blatantly ignored and violated state law, but don’t take my word for it; the State Supreme Court agreed. To suggest that Gary didn’t want “us coming to his precious little island” is an unfair and inaccurate assessment. There was clearly a large segment of the population on Kauai, the island he was elected to represent, that opposed the Superferry. He wasn’t “egging them on” so much as supporting the position taken by some of his constituents and, oh, by the way, the position supported by the Supreme Court decision. For my part, I was eager to use the Superferry to take my car with me, rather than flying, to the neighbor islands, but I refused to support them when they flagrantly ignored the law and flaunted their position when they moved up their start date immediately following the Supreme Court decision. This was not a business that “played nice” or respected the laws and people of Hawaii and though I’m sorry the ferry is gone, I supported the position taken by the former Senator and those that went out into Nawiliwili harbor.

    I think Gary Hooser is the best person to serve Hawaii as the representative for the 2nd Congressional district. That he “forgot to pay his taxes” is, as I understand it, ancient history and I will gladly give him both money and support as I can afford to do so.

    Gary Hooser for Congress!

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