HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The shelves are bare and the boxes are filling fast in Governor Neil Abercrombie's office. His administration will end on December 1.
In August, he became the first incumbent Governor in Hawaii to lose in the primary and it wasn't close. Challenger David Ige won by 35 percent and received 157,000 votes while Abercrombie failed to bring in half that amount. Today the outgoing Governor reflected on his four years in the executive office.
Governor Abercrombie says he thought the result would be much closer, although he was not surprised he lost. He says the tough decisions he made worked against him and he didn't bounce back like he thought.
"I'm content. Let me put it this way. I look back, every decision I made I felt needed to be made in order to advance the well being of the state," said Governor Abercrombie.
Among the things he wishes he could finish are preschool for all, affordable urban housing, addressing climate change and reforming the prison system and bringing local inmates in Arizona back to Hawaii.
As for his greatest accomplishment...
"If there is any accomplishment at all that I would reference I guess it would be marriage equity," said Gov. Abercrombie.
He does not consider marriage equality the reason he lost, considering David Ige also voted for it. However Abercrombie dismisses talk that it was his at times abrasive personality that did him in.
"Do you look back and think there should have been a softer side?"
"Well, uh, I'm not quite sure what that means," responded Gov. Abercrombie. "People have liked decisions I've made, they've been against decisions I've made."
He did upset the elderly, teachers and nurses to name a few and he admits he's not into finessing answers.
"Isn't that the very thing that people say they don't want in leadership? Where you're trying to fool people," said Gov. Abercrombie. "I regret that I'm not going to have another four years to work on the good things we've gotten accomplished and gotten started, but I'm not sorry about any of the decisions I've made because I'm content I made them with a sense of integrity and purposefulness."
He still plans to announce a statewide initiative to modernize the prison system before packing up that last box.
Life after office
Primary Election night Neil Abercrombie knew early on he was not going to get the chance for a second term. In fact that night he had already started thinking about his life out of public office.
"The idea popped into my head that maybe I can offer some strategic advice, counsel, and perspective to people who might find that valuable. I'm hoping that they will," said Gov. Abercrombie.
He formed a company called Pacific Strategies to advise and consult people on issues, particularly in Washington where he had served two decades in Congress.
"I suppose it will be an interesting situation to pursue and if there is money associated with it fine," said Gov. Abercrombie.
He is working on a budget for Governor elect David Ige, which needs to be finished next month.
"You'll never find me ever disparaging the next administration or any administration to come. Quite the opposite. I'm going to do everything I can to work with those who have the responsibility," said Gov. Abercrombie.
After 40 years in office the now 76 year old says he won't miss politics.
"I won't miss it because I'm not going to leave it. I've been involved with politics since I was a little boy," said Gov. Abercrombie.
He has said this was to be his last election and jokes that's not likely to change.
"If you look at the results of the August primary I'm not sure there is a major draft underway for me," said Gov. Abercrombie.
He does look forward to walking his dog Kanoa as long as they like or listening to a symphony uninterrupted without watching the time.