Hawaii's Congressional delegation prepares for a Trump presidency

Hawaii's Congressional delegation prepares for a Trump presidency 10pm update
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - President-elect Donald Trump will enjoy a Republican Congress. In the U.S. Senate and the House, Republicans will control agendas and committees.

But in the U.S. Senate, Democrats are needed to clear legislation and nominations -- and Hawaii's two Democratic senators are ready to rumble. The two can have an impact with tactics like filibustering and blocking nominations.

"The Senate is there to sort of slow the train down a little, to make sure not to many radical things happen too quickly," said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. "That's the fight we're going into. I'm motivated and ready as ever."

Political analyst Dan Boylan says Hawaii's Congressional delegation has a big test ahead of them, and their success (or failure) in lobbying for Hawaii's interests could rest on the art of negotiation.

"Hawaii guys make deals," he said. "Hawaii guys know how to ho'o male male. They know how to do it. I think we're not in as bad a shape as some people may think."

Colleen Hanabusa, who was elected to the late U.S. Rep. Mark Takai's seat on Tuesday, said she will preach Hawaii's strategic value.

"We need to continue to emphasize that we in Hawaii play a significant role for the security of the nation," she said.

Meanwhlie, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono said Hawaii's delegation must stand up to protect social services and Social Security.

"We saw that throughout this election campaign that fear and an uncertainty about the future of our country was very prevalent. What we need to do is make sure fear is not what we need going forward," she said.

But Hawaii lawmakers do worry that Trump's views of civil society and government will clash with the state's long-held values.

"He does not share our values when it comes to immigrants, when it comes to how you treat people of color, women, and other folks who aren't as lucky as Donald Trump," Schatz said.

Hanabusa added, "I know that he's actually built a whole platform against that, against what we represent in Hawaii, which is a state of all minorities."

Schatz also said that he's not as worried about Hawaii getting its fair share of federal funding as he is about Trump taking executive action to reverse President Barack Obama's legacy programs, such as Obamacare.

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