by Paul Drewes
(KHNL) - A quiet afternoon with Clayton Hee at his windward ranch and you quickly see he has a passion for horses.
His tough-as-nails cowboy image is also one ,he feels, will suit him on his run to Washington.
"Going to Washington is not an easy job, and hopefully the voters will elect a tough guy to do a tough job. I don't think I will be lacking in qualifications." says Hee.
Aside from the ranching and rodeoing he's done, this senator also has political qualifications -- during which he's learned to take a stand.
"I'm the only one who has publicly stated I support Senator Akaka. The reason is he voted against the war."
Hee has a lot of similarities with Akaka. They both share a Chinese heritage, they're graduates of Kamehameha and have backgrounds as teachers.
And that should help, as Hee hears from the community about the top two issues, people want their congressman to tackle.
"Get out of Iraq - we can't win and fight for education."
As a former schoolteacher, Hee would like to see the money now being spent on the war, instead, go into the classrooms.
With his picturesque ranch as a reminder, Hee would also like to make sure Hawaii uses its natural resources wisely.
"I'd like Hawaii to be self sustainable - with wind, solar and wave energy. Get off of big oil - and these things are possible in Hawaii."
Like horseshoes Hee hammers out, the senator has already hammered out legislation to help spread the Hawaiian language as well as helped spark indigenous culture revitalization.
And he knows his latest ideas and issues will also take a lot of work. Something this congressional cowboy says he won't shy away from - either here in Hawaii or in Washington.