Coffee with a Candidate: Colleen Hanabusa, Candidate for Honolulu Mayor

Coffee with a Candidate: Colleen Hanabusa, Candidate for Honolulu Mayor

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Among the most well-traveled candidates running for mayor in 2020, Colleen Hanabusa told Hawaii News Now earlier this year that she was campaigning on a record of experience ― but wanted to make it clear that she didn’t consider herself an insider.

“I don’t think running for mayor should be something like training wheels,” Hanabusa said.

Hanabusa recently sat down with Mahealani Richardson for a cup of coffee to discuss this year’s political races.

Here are some of the questions she took on in our interview:

  • How crazy has this campaign been, with all of the candidates basically staying at home?

I got to tell you, I understand Zoom now! That’s how crazy it is. I understand a little bit more about lighting, and so forth. But it’s going to be very interesting as the candidates start to move on. And then you now have endorsements coming out and all that, so it’s very interesting. It’s not going to be business as usual.

  • Our government leaders have been struggling in terms of public perception trying to handle the coronavirus crisis. What would you do to balance the public health crisis while trying to reopen the economy?

The only way tourism comes back is to let people into the state. How do you let people into the state, or why would anybody want to come in when you have to do 14 days of quarantine? I don’t see us being able, as long as the governor has his 14 day quarantine, I don’t see us being able to recover. And I don’t see the governor letting up, and I’m not sure he should, unless we have a better handle on testing or a vaccine.

Until we have those answers, I don’t think the governor or the mayor really knows what to do.

  • You have roots in Waianae. How does that shape who you are today?

It shapes who I am today. I’m fourth-generation Japanese-American out in Waianae, people find that hard to believe. I had grandparents who worked on the plantation. I grew up among a large and strong native Hawaiian community, so I’ve always had this respect for the host culture.

Coming back together is also understanding the different types of crises and feelings that people have, and that’s what people from Waianae has meant to me, in shaping me.

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