Colleen Hanabusa's Political Positions

On The Ballot: Running, Democratic for U.S. House - District 1
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Colleen Hanabusa has provided voters with clear stances on key issues by responding to the 2016 Political Courage Test.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Hawaii Congressional Election 2016 Political Courage Test

Pro-choiceCandidate AnswerDo you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Other or expanded principles
YesIn order to balance the budget, do you support reducing defense spending?
NoCandidate AnswerIn order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
Other or expanded principles

We need to continue to find areas where we can increase efficiency and identify areas where we can reduce costs. We can also achieve better buying power in our acquisition of systems and services. If done properly, we can both reduce costs and provide for a strong national defense.

Tax increases are never desirable, but we need to lift the added burdens off of the middle class. I support increasing taxes on higher brackets and closing tax loopholes.

YesDo you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
Other or expanded principles

We need to work to undo the consequences we have seen as a result of the Citizens United ruling. We need to create a more transparent electoral process that empowers voters and removes the influence of money in politics.

I co-sponsored several bills, such as the DISCLOSE Act, during my two previous terms in Congress. I will continue to support bills that aim to regulate campaign finance laws in a meaningful way.

NoDo you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
YesDo you support alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders such as mandatory counseling or substance abuse treatment?
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders?
Other or expanded principles

Rehabilitation is an important approach to those who have been convicted of crimes; for those who are incapable of rehabilitation, mental health issues are often a root cause. To kill those with mental health issues is not a humane way to increase public safety.

We need reforms to our justice system that work to effectively address the core issues that lead to substance abuse. Counseling and substance abuse treatment are two ways we can work to assist those who need help to get the assistance they need.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
YesDo you support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation?
Other or expanded principles

I am a strong supporter of loan guarantees and tax credits to spur advances in research and development and job creation. For example, our drive to develop clean and renewable energy programs can be achieved through providing tax incentives. We are able to create jobs while also advancing our goals of energy independence.

NoInferred Answer Do you generally support requiring states to adopt federal education standards? View Citations
  • "I support having states taking the initiative to develop educational reforms that will best serve the unique needs of each of their students in order to receive competitive federal grants." (
  • "Failures of "No Child Left Behind" have already demonstrated what happens when the federal government attempts to impart a one-size-fits-all approach to the country's school system." (
Other or expanded principles

Failures of "No Child Left Behind" have highlighted the need for a new approach to our country's education priorities. To address some of these issues, I support having states take the initiative to develop educational reforms that will best serve their unique needs while still having the federal government involved by granting competitive federal grants to states that develop strong and effective reforms.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support building the Keystone XL pipeline?
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)?
YesDo you support increased regulations on the hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") industry?
Other or expanded principles

I consistently and emphatically opposed the Keystone XL Pipeline project during my time in Congress because I believe the project is harmful to both the environment and a clean energy future. We need to continue to support and fund the development of renewable energy and I will continue to support these efforts.

YesDo you believe that human activity is contributing to climate change?
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
Other or expanded principles

As an island state in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, climate change, sea-level rise and ocean acidification have direct and dire impacts on our daily lives. Our islands are blessed with some of the most diverse ecosystems and endangered species on the planet and we must do what we can to protect them. This includes being vigilant in monitoring and stopping the spread of invasive species that can wreak havoc on our environment.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you generally support gun-control legislation?
Other or expanded principles

During my time in the Hawaii State Senate, we were able to pass effective legislation that increased public safety without placing an undue burden on gun owners. In my two terms in Congress, I was a strong voice advocating that the federal government take action on gun control.

I supported H.R. 1565, the King-Thompson Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, because it would expand background checks and close gun purchasing loopholes.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
Other or expanded principles

I have supported and will continue to support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It provides important protections, including ensuring coverage for preexisting conditions and allowing young adults to remain on their parents? plans until they can get coverage on their own. Given that, we should all be able to stand behind the plan and provide these vital benefits to the people we serve.

NoInferred Answer Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship? View Citations
  • "This is why I have co-sponsored the DREAM Act and support President Obama's new directive for immigration enforcement." (
Other or expanded principles

While I think that the immigration process in America needs to be improved, I believe the United States has always drawn upon its diversity as a source of moral strength and intellectual vigor. In the case of children brought to the United States and raised and educated here, I find it difficult to punish them for their parents' choices just as they achieve adulthood and start to become prosperous in our society. This is why co-sponsored the DREAM Act while I was in Congress.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support same-sex marriage?
Other or expanded principles

Drawing upon the memory of my two grandfathers being sent to internment camps during World War II, I know firsthand the feeling of having your civil rights and liberties taken away from you.

I support same sex marriage because I believe everyone has the right to marry the person they love. The Supreme Court has also decided that the right to marry is one that is afforded to all, a decision I firmly support.

Unknown PositionInferred Answer Do you support increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support? View Citations
  • "Unmanned aerial vehicles have given our military a means to respond to threats and carry out military missions without placing our forces in harms way. They allow us to pursue legitimate security goals without endangering the lives of the men and women who serve in our military. Drones have also demonstrated their value in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance roles" (
  • "To properly defend is also to ensure that we have the best up-to-date information to deter any attacks, such as a nuclear or biological assault. It is to peacefully hold other nations in check by showing that the U.S. cannot be leveraged into anything by a simple show of force. We must continue to educate, train and care for our armed forces and their families. They are our defenders and they are the ones who carry America's image and values abroad." (
YesShould the U.S use military force in order to prevent governments hostile to the United States from possessing a nuclear weapon?
Other or expanded principles

I have always advocated for clear and consistent strategic goals when it comes to the consideration of the use of force. We must not take lightly the decision to send our troops into harms way.

I support the use of sanctions and other diplomatic means to prevent governments hostile to the United States and our allies from possessing a nuclear weapon. I would only support the use of force once we have exhausted all other means.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts?
Other or expanded principles


Indicate what federal spending levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.

Maintain Statusa) Agriculture
Slightly Increaseb) Arts
Maintain Statusc) Defense
Slightly Increased) Education
Slightly Increasee) Environment
Maintain Statusf) Homeland Security
Maintain Statusg) International aid
Slightly Increaseh) Medical Research
Slightly Increasei) Scientific Research
Slightly Increasej) Space exploration
Maintain Statusk) United Nations
Maintain Statusl) Welfare
m) Other or expanded categories


Indicate what federal tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.

Slightly Increasea) Capital gains taxes
Greatly Increaseb) Corporate taxes
Maintain Statusc) Small business taxes
Greatly Increased) Excise taxes (alcohol)
Greatly Increasee) Excise taxes (cigarettes)
Maintain Statusf) Excise taxes (transportation fuel)
Greatly Decreaseg) Income taxes (low-income families)
Greatly Decreaseh) Income taxes (middle-income families)
Greatly Increasei) Income taxes (high-income families)
Slightly Increasej) Inheritance taxes
Maintain Statusk) Payroll taxes
l) Other or expanded categories
Please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

If elected to serve again in Congress, I will continue to be an advocate for the preservation of Social Security and Medicare. These vital programs are a promise we made to our kupuna that we must fight to protect.

I also believe we need to protect and empower the middle class, which is the backbone of our economy and our country. In addition, we need to ensure Hawaii's role in the Asia-Pacific and contributing to a peaceful and prosperous 21st century.

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