From her Waianae roots, to impactful roles in City, State and Federal government, Colleen Hanabusa has never forgotten where she came from or who she works for: you.

Let’s return Colleen to the U.S Congress, so she can continue to work for the people of Hawaii.


From her Waianae roots, to impactful roles in City, State and Federal government, Colleen Hanabusa has never forgotten where she came from or who she works for: you.

Let’s return Colleen to the U.S Congress, so she can continue to work for the people of Hawaii.


From her Waianae roots, to impactful roles in City, State and Federal government, Colleen Hanabusa has never forgotten where she came from or who she works for: you.

Let’s return Colleen to the U.S Congress, so she can continue to work for the people of Hawaii.

About Colleen

As a public servant, Colleen Hanabusa has always stood up for Hawaii’s families. Committed to protecting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for our seniors and hard-working families, as well as services for our veterans, she’s helped secure jobs at Pearl Harbor and funding for our roads, rail and buses. Colleen is a champion for affordable healthcare, women's rights, civil rights, fair and non-discriminatory immigration policies, job training and education.  And now, Colleen is helping to shape the Democratic message in the U.S. House of Representatives by serving as a key member of Nancy Pelosi's House leadership team.

Read More About Colleen


  • Jobs and the Economy

    In order to keep our economy moving, Colleen believes that the people of Hawai‘i must make smart, long-term investments in the state, in the country, and in all of its citizens. She supports funding important infrastructure and transportation projects, small business investments, and innovative research and technology that will keep Hawai‘i and the United States competitive in the global marketplace, and achieve energy independence.

    During her time in Congress, Colleen helped to bring more than $77 million in Department of Labor grants to Hawai‘i including funding for veterans, job training, and workforce development. She supports the “Make it in America” agenda to help strengthen the country’s manufacturing industries, while creating well-paying jobs here at home. Colleen also cosponsored the Make it in America Block Grant Program Act of 2011, which would make grants available to eligible businesses in the U.S. manufacturing sector.

    Colleen supports aggressively expanding education and training initiatives that will prepare Hawai‘i’s students to lead the way and compete with the best and brightest around the world.

    With tourism remaining the state’s largest private industry, Colleen believes that Hawai‘i must ensure its economy is prepared for any uncertainty that may arise in the world economy. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in 2011 gave the local business community the opportunity to develop and foster relationships with international economic allies, while promoting the islands as not just a premier vacation destination, but also as a state ready to do business.

    Hawai‘i is also home to the U.S. Pacific Command, bringing public and private jobs and investment in cutting-edge research. The islands’ strategic location in the Asia-Pacific is not only crucial to national security, but also to economic growth and development.

  • Fighting for our Kupuna – Protecting Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare

    Like millions of Americans, Hawai‘i’s seniors depend on Social Security and Medicare for economic security and affordable healthcare. Over the last few years, wrangling over the federal budget has put these vital programs on the chopping block yet again.

    While in Congress, Colleen worked diligently and effectively alongside her colleagues to fight against proposed cuts, but the programs are far from safe. She joined over a hundred colleagues in signing a letter to President Obama, asking him to keep Social Security and Medicare off the bargaining table. She also cosponsored five separate pieces of legislation that would bar these cuts from taking place. She knows that these valuable programs should not be viewed as a piggybank that can be broken into to reduce the debt.

    During the negotiations around the national deficit in the 112th Congress, Colleen fought to ensure that federal entitlement programs, especially Social Security and Medicare, were left off the table and not used to pay down the deficit. She firmly believes that these programs embody the nation’s promise to America’s seniors, and that our nation must not abandon our obligation to care for retirees and the millions who depend on Social Security.

    Although it is a large program benefitting millions in our community, Social Security does not contribute to the deficit; it has been paid for directly by hardworking Americans who have contributed to the fund with every paycheck. The nation’s seniors paid into these accounts throughout their working lives; they earned these benefits. We can count on Colleen to continue her work in protecting the benefits they provide to Hawai‘i’s kupuna.

    During Colleen’s time in Congress, the Republican Majority repeatedly passed budget plans that would end Medicare as it is recognized today, converting it into a voucher program that would force seniors and their families to pay higher deductibles, premiums, and copays. Under the Republican Majority’s plan, the millions of seniors who require expensive long-term care and those with chronic conditions would be asked to shoulder more of the burden at a time when they have less.

    Colleen proudly joined a number of her colleagues on several bills meant to protect Social Security from harmful cuts or reforms during her time in Washington, including H.R. 2723, the Social Security Protection Act, and H.Con.Res. 72, which expresses the sense of Congress that “any deficit reduction plan put forward by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction should not balance the budget by eroding America’s hard‐earned retirement plan and social safety net.”

    In Hawai‘i, we learn from an early age to treat kupuna with respect and to accept responsibility for their care. Republican proposals would insult and abandon these kupuna, threatening their livelihoods by taking away vital sources of retirement income and stability. These short-term approaches will adversely affect all communities and families, asking citizens to simply ignore the long-established national promise to care for retirees and the millions who depend on Social Security and Medicare. Colleen will continue to work hard to ensure these programs.

  • Veterans

    The men and women who have made extraordinary sacrifices for their country are entitled to our nation’s support and services. Colleen will continue to fight for veterans and ensure that they receive all they have earned.

    She is committed to helping provide veterans with the quality care they require after battle, and any services they may need in order to transition back to civilian life. The GI Bill, for example, provides every returning service member with a chance to obtain a college education. Colleen supports legislation to help make veterans career-ready, by providing businesses with tax credits for hiring unemployed or injured veterans and encouraging employers to provide free on-the-job training to veterans. Colleen feels strongly that it is an honor to do everything possible to recognize and respect their service and commitment to our nation.

    Legislation that Colleen cosponsored in the 112th and 113th sessions of Congress includes:

    • H.R. 333: Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act, which permits retired members of the Armed Forces who have a service-connected disability rated less than 50 percent to receive concurrent payment of both retired pay and veterans’ disability compensation, to eliminate the phase-in period for concurrent receipt, to extend eligibility for concurrent receipt to chapter 61 disability retirees with less than 20 years of service, and for other purposes.
    • H.R. 210: Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2011, which deems certain service performed before July 1, 1946, in the organized military forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Scouts as active military service for purposes of eligibility for veterans’ benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. It also directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in determining eligibility under this Act, to take into account any relevant service documentation, including documentation other than the Missouri List (the list of all discharged and deceased veterans from the 20th century).
    • H.R.719: To award a Congressional Gold Medal to the World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol, which directs the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to arrange for the award of a single Congressional Gold Medal to honor collectively the World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) in recognition of their military service and exemplary record during World War II. It also requires the Medal’s display at the Smithsonian Institution.
    • H.R.2115: Filipino Veterans of World War II Family Reunification Act, which exempts children of certain Filipino World War II veterans from the numerical limitations on immigrant visas and for other purposes.

  • Energy and the Environment

    Hawai‘i remains the most petroleum-dependent state in the nation, but it also possesses a singularly diverse array of alternative energy resources. With the islands’ particular climate and geography, Hawai‘i has the unique opportunity to stand as a leader in the development and deployment of solar, wind, wave, geothermal, biofuel, and other sustainable energy sources.

    These technologies would create much-needed jobs, and help move Hawai‘i’s Clean Energy Initiative forward. Colleen strongly believes that investment in renewable energy technologies must continue in order to protect the islands’ unique environment and economy, as well as to preserve their long-term sustainability.

    As a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources during the 112th and 113th sessions of the United States Congress, Colleen had the opportunity to actively address important environmental and energy issues. She was also a member of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Caucus, which focuses on protecting the environment and developing clean, renewable energy sources.

    During her two terms in Congress, Colleen helped steer more than $38 million toward programs and initiatives that protect and preserve the environment. This included funds for improvements to Haleakala National Park, fisheries maintenance and habitat protection, coral reef and coastal zone management, native plant and animal protection, and tsunami preparedness.

    As residents of an island state, the people of Hawai‘i understand the importance of clean air and clean water. Visitors from all over the world travel to the islands to enjoy its world-class beaches. Local children and families use the ocean for recreational and traditional activities. And the livelihoods of Hawai‘i’s farmers and fishermen depend on clean water. Colleen fought Republican legislation that limits federal oversight of clean water standards, as undermining the Clean Water Act would negatively affect the health of Hawai‘i’s communities, economy, and precious natural environment.

    After the United States experienced the worst oil spill in national history, Colleen proposed two common sense amendments that would show the public that Congress is serious about preventing another disaster like the Deepwater Horizon.

    The Hanabusa Amendment to H.R. 1938 – North American-Made Security Act requires that a Presidential Permit approving the construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline will not be issued unless the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, certifies that the applicant has calculated a worst-case oil spill scenario for the proposed pipeline.

    Hawai‘i is also home to an abundance of endangered and threatened species. Our unique ecosystems provide these plants and animals with the habitats they need to survive, and Colleen maintains that it is critical to give them the protection that ensures they will be available to future generations.

    She cosponsored an amendment that eliminated a dangerous provision in H.R. 2584, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2012. This rider would have blocked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from using funds to list new plants and animals under the Endangered Species Act, to designate habitat as critical to the survival of listed species, or to increase protections for threatened and endangered species. Denying the power to add new species to the endangered list would move those species closer to extinction, making it more difficult and more expensive to save them down the road.

  • Education

    Education is the greatest investment a nation can make in its future. Colleen has always believed that every child deserves the opportunity to receive a quality education. This investment in every child’s education is crucial because in order to maintain a successful, thriving economy, the nation must have an educated workforce.

    During her time in Congress, Colleen helped deliver more than $162 million in education grants, including funding for children with disabilities and college preparation grants for at-risk youth. These funds help strengthen Hawai‘i’s schools, provide greater learning opportunities for island students, and modernize local classrooms. They also support organizations and agencies that develop educational programs and services for Native Hawaiian students of all ages.

    In the Hawaii State Senate, her experience chairing the Felix Investigative Committee and representing the Waianae Coast demonstrated to her firsthand the necessity of funding like Title I, IDEA, and Section 504 needs assessment funding. She has seen how vital these federal funding streams are to ensuring areas with high need receive resources, which is the way to equalize opportunities and make education accessible for all students that are identified as having challenges, whether it be disabilities, English Language Learners, or impoverished families.

    Her experience with Felix also taught her that we must remain engaged and ensure that our educational investments are applied appropriately, ensuring that our funding of special education is being felt in the classroom, is supporting teachers, and is working for the benefit of these students.

    Colleen knows that support for Hawai‘i’s students must include making college affordable and accessible to all, regardless of their financial situations; having students who either cannot afford to go to college or who graduate with crushing debt is a disservice to our nation and our future. She stands with President Obama in his statement that “Higher education cannot be a luxury. It is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.” That’s why she supports providing more scholarships and increasing Pell Grants for students who are committed to furthering their educations—especially those whose plans focus on careers in science, technology, math and engineering.

    She also recognizes that we need to support our colleges and universities in developing means of funding other than tuition. Particularly in the area of technology development, universities play a vital role in the marketplace. Federal contracts will continue to support that. Encouraging faculty to operate in the marketplace, including the marketplace of ideas, is a positive development. Students also benefit from seeing real-world applications for their learning. As a member of the House armed Services Committee’s Panel on Small Business, she saw what kinds of efforts we need to make to open up the defense market to small businesses. Universities should be able to participate in those expanding markets, as well.

  • Affordable Healthcare and Resisting Repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

    Hawai‘i is justifiably proud to have one of the highest rates of healthcare coverage in the nation. This is the product of the state’s commitment to ensuring that coverage remains strong for those who have it, and providing more to those who need it.

    During Colleen’s time in Congress, she helped bring more than $196 million home to Hawai‘i in Health and Human Services grants, including funding for health centers, Native Hawaiian health care programs, and public health emergency preparedness.

    She supports the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which expands the federal commitment to making sure all Americans have healthcare coverage. Already, Americans are enjoying benefits of the Act as it has closed the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage for those with very high drug costs, extended coverage of children on their parents’ plan through age 26, and banned the denial of health insurance on the basis of pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Now, the GOP's ACA Repeal Bill and Trump's budget blueprint are poised to decrease coverage, increase premiums, increase deductibles and implement an Age Tax while shifting cost savings to the wealthy. States would be forced to contribute more of their own funds to the program, or cut back on benefits, payments and Medicaid eligibility in order to close the gap where funding falls short.

    A healthy population contributes to a more productive economy. Healthy children perform better in school, and healthy seniors are able to stay in their homes and enjoy a better quality of life. Colleen will continue to be an advocate for high-quality, accessible, affordable healthcare, and protect it from damaging budget-cutting maneuvers.

  • National Security

    One of Colleen’s top priorities is the safety and security of the nation, something she advocated for as a member of the Armed Services Committee. Since 9/11, America has taken significant steps to strengthen its national security and protect its citizens from future attacks. As the United States reevaluates its new military strategy following the death of Osama bin Laden, Colleen defends that it is critical to bring home men and women in uniform safely from overseas engagements. The U.S. must preserve a ready and vigilant force at home and abroad, but Colleen firmly believes that American lives cannot continue to be risked overseas.

    She strongly supports and stands behind American troops, both during and following their military service. As they put their lives on the line to fight for this country and its freedoms, they must have the appropriate equipment and resources to keep them safe in combat. These brave men and women are trained and prepared for battle, but this country must also be there to help them transition back to normal life when they return home. They must receive the benefits and care they’ve rightfully earned. Colleen also supports more dwell time for troops, giving them additional time at home with their families, because she believes the strong foundation for a good service member is built upon the support of those around them.

    The United States needs to carefully consider its continued involvement in foreign actions without clear strategic goals. For example, ISIL has benefited from poor U.S. strategies in the Middle East in response to regional instability and growing religious tension. Colleen does not believe ISIL can be defeated by applying past strategies of direct intervention that have put American lives at risk and shown unsatisfying results. That involvement has come at far too high a cost in human lives and national resources. Instead, the U.S. focus should be on a strategy for regional engagement that builds on existing partnerships and enhances both international and domestic credibility – not getting involved in another foreign conflict without any serious prospect of ending the fighting.

    In its National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2014, the House Armed Services Committee approved more $400 million in defense funding for Hawai‘i. During Colleen’s time on the committee, she helped direct more than $1 billion in defense spending to Hawai‘i. This money is used for facility improvements and upgrades at installations throughout the state, reflecting the country’s continued commitment to the Pacific Theater. With the world’s three largest economic giants—the United States, Japan, and China—lining the Pacific, it is critical Hawai‘i remains economically competitive.

    Military construction funding is used for continued upgrades to crucial infrastructure and training assets in the state. This money ensures that Hawai‘i is viewed as a pivotal location during our nation’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. Military construction spending has and will continue to provide an essential catalyst for Hawai‘i’s economy at a time when housing and commercial real estate have been affected by the recession. The ripple or multiplier effects of military construction are large. For every $100 of direct military construction outlays, another estimated $75 of additional sales is typically generated. Defense-related building has provided a vital cushion against the recessionary forces that have buffeted the civilian sector. It is anticipated that military construction will advance to new all-time highs in the year ahead and help Hawai‘i transition to a significant and sustainable expansion.

  • Fair Immigration Policies, Non-discrimination and Equality

    Colleen’s great-grandparents came to Hawai‘i over a century ago to work on the sugar plantations. Although they were American citizens, both of her grandfathers were sent to internment camps during World War II simply because they were of Japanese ancestry and the U.S. government believed their race made them untrustworthy. Today, Trump wrongly believes that discriminatory immigration policies will make America safer.

    At a young age Colleen learned all about racism, discrimination, and the plight of minorities struggling to find fair footing in the world.

    As a woman who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s, she is all too familiar with the professional and social battles that women have had to fight to gain equal footing with men. Sadly, today, there are still those in the Congress and the Trump administration who do not believe that a woman has the right to make key decisions regarding her body. Some also believe that women cannot be wives or mothers AND hardworking professionals or they are not entitled to equal pay for equal work.

    Colleen firmly believes in women’s right to choose, and is a staunch proponent of gender neutrality. She supports same-sex marriage because she believes that everyone should have the right to marry whomever they wish. Love is love.

    Her long history of supporting federal recognition for Native Hawaiians proves that she will not give up that struggle. They deserve the same rights and privileges already enjoyed by hundreds of indigenous groups in America. Such recognition is long overdue.

    Colleen strongly believes that one of the truths that make this country great is that no one should be discriminated against because of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. Everyone should be free to be exactly who they are, and she stands committed to fighting for equality for all Americans.

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Other Methods

You can write to to Colleen at:

Hanabusa for Hawaii
PO Box 1416 
Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96806

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