Hanabusa at crossroads between rail, Congress

Hanabusa at Crossroads between Rail and Congress
Published: May. 25, 2016 at 3:18 AM HST|Updated: May. 25, 2016 at 10:32 AM HST
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For the first time, former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa admits she's thinking about running for U.S. Rep. Mark Takai's seat. 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With just two weeks to go before the filing deadline to campaign for Congress and no big names in the running, Hanabusa is facing a critical decision.

Analysts say Hanabusa's recognition and fundraising skills would make her virtually unbeatable.

"Well I'll answer it this way," she said.  "Mark Takai informed me before he informed anyone else."

It's been five days since Takai announced that his cancer had gotten worse.

"Of course it's something that I'm giving consideration to," Hanabusa said.

Takai's worsening illness forced him to stop his re-election campaign.

"I think Mark's decision was one as to what was the best interest of his constituents and I'm honoring that. So I'm putting a lot weight into how he feels," she said.

Now it's the hard part; deciding whether to run for Congress, which experts believe she would win easily. Or, stay in her new job as head of the rail board.

"It's gonna be a choice at that point as to what I can do and what I can't do. So I have to figure out what can I do. This is not a paid board, so I don't have any of those other "ethics issues," she said.

To get back to Congress, Hanabusa would leave behind a monumental task at the rail board using all her connections at the city, state, and federal level to get the troubled project on track.

"That would really be a big hole, and I'm sure she's getting a lot of advice from every side. But I'm sure part of that is saying, 'We really need you here at home in Hawaii, helping us fix HART,'" political analyst Colin Moore said.

Hanabusa said she wants to see through the changes she's implemented at the rail board.

"It would be a matter of what kind of time can be placed in and it would be really up to the pointing authority, which will be the mayor as to what he wants to do," said Hanabusa.

The filing deadline is June 7th.

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