By: Joann Shin
(KHNL) - Colleen Hanabusa began learning Ikebana- the Japanese art of arranging flowers, when she was just 10 years old.
She says every arrangement begins with a strong foundation.
Hanabusa says her Waianae roots give her a solid base and allows her to understand the needs of the 2nd Congressional District.
"If you don't have some tie to having been born there, raised there, you don't know what it's like to be in a rural community," said Hanabusa.
Few ever see this side of Hanabusa.
But many know her work as a labor lawyer and legislator.
She said, "I think what distinguishes me the most is the strength."
Hanabusa says she's not afraid to ask the tough questions.
She questions the war in Iraq.
She said, "I was opposed to it in 2002 and came out clearly and said hey there are no evidences of mass destruction."
Hanabusa added "I didn't see why we couldn't have a withdrawal by 2007. I think if elected, you got to hold that deadline which would be the end of next year," <:30>
On the topic of education, Hanabusa says the No Child Left Behind Act demoralizes teachers and students.
She says the tests need to be changed to become more relevant.
Hanabusa explained, "There are a lot of times general population kids do fine. but when you put in special needs, english as a second language, ESL kids, you put them all together school fails. it's not a fair assessment."
She's fought for the leeward community as a state senator, now she wants to branch out.