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A GUIDE TO THE CONGRESSIONAL RACES: HAWAII

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TIME

HAWAII

Population (1994): 1,179,000 (up 6.3% from 1990); 0.5% of U.S. total

Voting-age population: 900,000; 1994 turnout, 41%

Median age: 32.6 years

Median household income: $42,255 ($9,991 above U.S. median)

Unemployment: 5.9% (0.3% above U.S. average, March 1996)

Last presidential election: Clinton (D): 48% Bush (R): 37% Perot (I): 14%

Congressional delegation: Four Democrats, no Republicans

Hawaii is a place of ironies, geographically one of the most isolated places on Earth, yet home to an eclectic mix of cultures. Its isolation has produced 10,000 plant and animal species unique to the islands, and 60% of the babies born here are of mixed racial heritage. Though pineapples and sugar cane once drove Hawaii, the state now relies on tourism and its strategic military position to fuel its economy. The aloha spirit also spawned recent controversy when a lawsuit, now in the Hawaii courts, threatened to force state recognition of gay marriages. This spurred Congress to hastily pass the Defense of Marriage Act, which allows other states the right not to recognize such unions.

NEIL ABERCROMBIE (D) District 1 (Honolulu–Pearl City)

BORN: June 26, 1938, Buffalo, N.Y. EDUCATION: Union College, B.A., 1959; U of Hawaii, M.A., 1964, Ph.D., 1974 FAMILY: Wife, Nancie Caraway RELIGION: NR MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Educator POLITICAL CAREER: Hawaii House, 1975-79, Senate, 1979-86; U.S. House, 1986-87; Honolulu city council, 1988-90; U.S. House, 1990- ADDRESS: 3130 Waialee, Honolulu 96816. Tel.: 808-732-6699

Abercrombie, who had a three-month stint in the House in 1986-87, believes in government as protector of the disadvantaged and the environment. He also takes issue with Republican welfare-reform proposals restricting benefits to legal immigrants, and wrote a bill to waive visas for some South Korean tourists, aiding Hawaii’s biggest industry. In a tight race , his labor and minority support should serve him well.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “The anti-immigration movement…is fatally compromised by its financial and political links with forces that have more in common with burning crosses than the Stars and Stripes.”

ORSON SWINDLE (R) District 1

BORN: March 8, 1937, Thomasville, Ga. EDUCATION: Georgia Institute of Technology, B.S., 1959; Florida State U, M.B.A., 1975 FAMILY: Wife, Angela Williams; two children RELIGION: Protestant MILITARY: Marines, 1959-79 OCCUPATION: Presidential campaign aide; government official POLITICAL CAREER: Republican nominee for U.S. House, 1994 ADDRESS: 2919 Kapiolani Boulevard, No. 33, Honolulu 96826. Tel.: 808-739-5075

Swindle spent eight years in the Reagan Administration as Assistant Secretary of Commerce and state director of the Farmers Home Administration He was also the first national leader of Ross Perot’s United We Stand America. He believes his credentials give him the experience to cull useless bureaucracy and save tax dollars. He also supports tax cuts and trimming Medicare’s growth rate.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I want to balance the budget for your children and grandchildren…I believe it immoral to burden our children and grandchildren with our debts.”

PATSY MINK (D) District 2 (Suburban and outer Oahu–“neighbor islands”)

BORN: Dec. 6, 1927, Paia, Maui EDUCATION: U of Hawaii, B.A., 1948; U of Chicago, J.D., 1951 FAMILY: Husband, John; one child RELIGION: Protestant MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Hawaii territorial House, 1956-58, state and territorial Senate, 1958-64; U.S. House, 1965-77; assistant U.S. Secretary of State, 1977-78; Honolulu city council, 1983-87; U.S. House, 1990- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 4452, Honolulu 96812. Tel.: 808-263-6465

Mink first entered the House in 1965 as a supporter of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Now she’s fighting the increasingly futile battle against dismantling those programs. An advocate for women’s civil liberties, labor and programs like Head Start, she’s a conservative’s worst nightmare. But in Hawaii, as long as Democrats still dominate, she’s a solid incumbent.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “The farm bill…is not some abstract notion…It is thousands of jobs in the sugar industry alone. It is 420,000 jobs that are about to be eliminated.”

TOM PICO JR. (R) District 2

BORN: Jan. 1, 1944, Perth Amboy, N.J. EDUCATION: Rutgers U, J.D., 1968 FAMILY: Wife, Mary Zanakis; five children RELIGION: Protestant MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Hawaii Deputy Attorney General, 1968-71; Democratic nominee for Honolulu city council, 1978 ADDRESS: 31-A Hoolai Street, Kailua 96734. Tel.: 808-528-0645

After 11 years as a law-enforcement official, Pico supports increased police funding and “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” sentencing. He also touts a $500-per-child tax credit, which he claims would have kept $75 million in the district last year. As mainlanders have moved here, so has G.O.P. support. But this is still Democrat country, and no incumbent has been voted out of Congress since statehood was granted in 1959. Pico will have to buck history to win.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: “We would decide how to spend that [tax-credit] money…rather than sending it to Washington to be spent by some bureaucrat.”

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