HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Colleen Hanabusa is running for Honolulu’s mayor. Really.
On her website and Twitter pages, she’s clear that she’s running and is accepting donations. But until now, her campaign has been curiously quiet.
“I am running for Honolulu mayor,” Hanabusa told Hawaii News Now.
“We’ve got problems and we need someone ― and of course I believe this person is me ― who has the requisite experience, connections and a history of being able to tackle the hard issues and know what you are doing. I don’t think running for mayor should be something like training wheels."
Hanabusa was elected to the state Senate in 1998 representing Waianae, and previously served as the first female Senate president.
She also represented Hawaii in Congress, but lost races for U.S. Senate and governor.
In speaking to Hawaii News Now, Hanabusa said she’s running on a record of experience. But she also said she’s no insider.
“There’s some people who think I’ve been around forever," she said. “It really isn’t that long as people may think.”
HNN political analyst Colin Moore said Hanabusa has name recognition and political experience, but on the downside there are people who have formed negative opinions about her.
“I think she’ll do well. I don’t think she’s going to dominate the race," he said.
“I think we are in a political climate where people are looking for political candidates outside of the mainstream of the Hawaii Democratic Party so I think that’s going to be a liability for her."
Hanabusa will kick off her campaign when she opens her Kalihi headquarters on Feb. 29.
She’s among a crowded field of mayor contenders that includes City Councilwoman Kym Pine, business executives Keith Amemiya and Rick Blangiardi, Realtor Choon James and former state lawmaker John Carroll.