Supporters push for Obama presidential library in Hawaii - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Supporters push for Obama presidential library in Hawaii

Posted: Updated:
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

In Kakaako, just behind the parking lot for the Point Panic bodysurfing spot, there are two sites that supporters say could be the future home for the presidential library of Barack Obama.

The land is made up of two vacant lots, and offers a tantalizing view of Diamond Head and the ocean.

"We think it's a great opportunity for the president to launch his post-presidential career," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D), who has been a proponent of having a presidential center in Hawaii. "he's going to be a young ex-president, we know he's going to be in public service, and Honolulu would be a great headquarters for a presidential center."

George W. Bush's Presidential Library and Museum opened just last year in his home state of Texas. While President Obama was born and raised in Hawaii, he made his political mark and his current home in Chicago, which is also in the running.

"We're prepared to compete with Chicago, but we're also prepared to collaborate with Chicago," said Schatz.

At least one former president, Bill Clinton, has a presidential library in his home state of Arkansas, but his non-profit foundation is headquartered in New York. That has raised the hopes that Honolulu will get at least one part of a proposed center.

"There are a lot of different parts of a presidential center: a foundation, a policy school, the museum. And any one of those, or all of those, could be located here," said University of Hawaii Professor Robert Perkinson, who has been coordinating the effort to have a presidential center here.

Local Obama supporters say that he -- much like Clinton -- will remain active as a former president. They also say that his annual holidays in Hawaii show that he likes being here. 

But not so fast -- the White House isn't ready to talk just yet. After all, Obama's term still has three more years to go. That's still time for him to decide where to house his museum, or any foundation that he wishes to establish.

"When he's ready to seriously engage with those proposals, then we're ready to meet with him and partner with him," said Perkinson.

 

Follow Ben Gutierrez:    

Copyright 2014 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.