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Hanabusa Colleen Hanabusa: War games can unite countries

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Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 1:30 am

LIHUE — U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa voiced her support for Rim of the Pacific during a recent visit to Kauai.

“I think the RIMPAC exercises have done an amazing thing in terms of bridging a lot of the differences between the countries,” she said. 

Hanabusa, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, sat down with The Garden Island just two months before her upcoming bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz in the 2014 Democratic primary in August. She discussed a number of different issues, including recent controversies within the Department of Veterans Affairs, genetically modified organisms and homelessness.

She said she is a strong supporter of President Barack Obama’s position on the country’s strategic pivot toward the Asia-Pacific region. She said the biennial international military war games, which returns to Hawaiian waters later this month, are necessary.

“This is going to be definitive, not only for us, but for the nation and the world,” she said. 

“RIMPAC has served as a mechanism by which we are able to bring all the parties together, in a situation where they can look at each other, they can see each other, and they can also, I think, get a sense that things might just be able work in a cohesive manner if we’re able to do it together,” she added.

As for community concerns about how the exercises may impact marine life and the environment, Hanabusa said there are processes already in place and it is best to let the science move forward.

“I know there are people who do not believe in the military’s presence, but I happen not to be one of them,” she said. “I do believe that there’s an appropriate role, and it is our responsibility to ensure that there is a sense of stability in the Pacific.”

On the recent reports of the delays in veterans receiving medical care from the VA, she said the country must do better.

In her conversations with veterans, Hanabusa said she has come to realize that a lot of them like the fact that the VA is tailored to their needs and want that continued level of service. And while the scandal at the VA hospital in Phoenix earlier this year was “totally inexcusable,” she said it has raised awareness and made members of Congress realize the issue must be addressed and fixed.

“The bottom line is we sent them off to war, we asked them to serve and they did, and one of the benefits that they anticipate receiving is medical care. And we have a responsibility,” she said. “To me, more than moral, it is almost like a contractual responsibility to provide those services for them.”

In terms of addressing homelessness in Hawaii, Hanabusa said the first step is to understand that the homeless are not a “broad-brush” category of people.

The only way to beat homelessness, she said, is to take away the stigmas surrounding it, and assess who is homeless and why. The first category of homeless that should be taken care of are those with families, she said.

“I think the only way we’re going to succeed with homeless is we’ve got to have some kind of a rehabilitation program in place, but we’ve got to have job opportunities that also go hand-in-hand with it,” she said.

Hanabusa also shared her thoughts on the issue of genetically modified organisms — an issue several islands, including Kauai, have addressed via local legislation. She said the best way to deal with the issue is to get the right information and understand the science behind the technology.

“We conveniently, sometimes, flip back and forth between science, whether it’s relevant, or it’s valid or it’s not valid,” she said. 

Hanabusa said she would like to see people leave emotions out of the discussion. 

“The bottom line is that there needs to be a way to address food security, and there’s a need for us to realize that in situations, for example, with global warming … food production is going to be a major issue for all of us in the future,” she said.


Chris D’Angelo, environment writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or cdangelo@thegardenisland.com.

© 2015 Thegardenisland.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • Bjesquire posted at 10:40 pm on Wed, Jun 11, 2014.

    Bjesquire Posts: 30

    "As for community concerns about how the exercises may impact marine life and the environment, Hanabusa said there are processes already in place and it is best to let the science move forward."

    The science can't move forward if politicians like Hanabusa don't support it. Does she know the coral reefs are dying on the north shore? If she does, does she even care?

  • AnonyMouse posted at 7:09 pm on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    AnonyMouse Posts: 861

    That's right Pete and the comments have actually made me decide for Hanabusa as I don't want any elected official behooving to these idiots.

  • PeteAntonson posted at 6:08 pm on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    PeteAntonson Posts: 2506

    It's a little hilarious how the Cult of Fear, well represented on this page today, fears not the tangible, heavily armed threats that we face. Instead, they fear those things which can only be developed as dangerous within their own highly active and impressionable imaginations!

  • Eagle 6 posted at 5:07 pm on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    Eagle 6 Posts: 1332

    Sorry Colleen,
    We are all so tired of the rhetoric, that your good point is lost in a bunch of hogwash. Your going to have to stand up a bit taller.

  • onegeaeme posted at 2:49 pm on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    onegeaeme Posts: 5772

    Listen to the people, Colleen, there are plenty of us out here and we;re frith you.Have a good party.

    Bettejo Dux

  • realitychick posted at 11:05 am on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    realitychick Posts: 231

    Sad what people will do for a buck.

  • onegeaeme posted at 9:29 am on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    onegeaeme Posts: 5772

    War games can unite countries? Waste a lot of gas and oil, too. Kill a lot of sea mammals and coral reefs. The idea is just a bit too Orwellian for many of us, Colleen Hanabusa on the House Armed Services Committee.

    Kauai, Hawaii, America and planet Earth are faced with too many seriously critical problems today-hunger, global warming, rising seas, fresh water shortages, health concerns -and these expensive war games are not helping solve one of them. I repeat, they do not solve even one of them. Fact is: they contribute to them. Money, time and man power-world wide- can be put to better use.
    I suggest you suggest that the House Armed Services Committee, Colleen Hanabusa, put several of its gas gobbling war toys in mothballs and get with the program.

    Bettejo Dux

  • recondog posted at 8:41 am on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    recondog Posts: 213

    Ahhh yes, Colleen, exercises in which everyone pretends to kill others and destroy property is always good for "peace" and uniting countries. You are brilliant indeed!
    RG DeSoto

  • riverriim posted at 7:24 am on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    riverriim Posts: 339

    U.S. House representative anabUSA should be quarantined from educational campuses.

    Science: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method

    " We conveniently, sometimes, flip back and forth between science, whether it’s relevant, or it’s valid or it’s not valid,” bloviates one of the State of Hawaii's grandest equivocators Congresswoman Colleen hanabUSA.

    "We" ? Who the heck is the "we" this woman is speaking for? Certainly none of the children I ever taught science in elementary school.

  • alien posted at 7:08 am on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    alien Posts: 344

    United by killing. Sorry, sea life. Sorry, education system. This is not Security.This is stupidity.

  • kauaiboy posted at 6:45 am on Tue, Jun 10, 2014.

    kauaiboy Posts: 269

    Ms. Hanabusa's rhetoric about war games ("...an amazing thing in terms of bridging a lot of the differences between the countries..."), homelessness ("...some kind of rehabilitation program..."), and GMOs ("...a way to address food security...") indicates that she is either out of touch with reality or a consummate politician, carefully crafting her language to appeal to a dumbed-down electorate in the islands. Rimpac war games, rehabilitation of the homeless, GMOs and Ms. Hanabusa: I'm not buying any of it.


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