HONOLULU — At a time when frustrated Americans are imploring their leaders to put partisan differences aside for the good of the country, Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) onTuesday delivered a strong and hopeful message that cooperation between Democrats and Republicans in Washington is indeed possible.
She released an unprecedented bipartisan campaign ad in which Republican U.S. Rep. Don Young of Alaska strongly endorses Hirono over former Rep. Ed Case in the Hawaii Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
In the Hirono for Senate campaign ad, which features the two members of Congress seated side-by-side, Young says, “Here’s what’s important, Hawaii: If you’re looking for a United States senator who doesn’t just talk about ‘bipartisanship,’ but actually knows how to work with both Republicans and Democrats to get things done — Mazie Hirono will be that senator.”
The full 90-second ad, entitled “Opposites Attract,” can be viewed at http://youtu.be/YIgy-BkNx9M.
“Though Don Young is certainly a Republican, and I am clearly a Democrat, we’ve forged a partnership that enables us to solve problems for the people of both Hawaii and Alaska,” Hirono said.
During his tenure in Congress, Young has served six years with Hirono but also for four years with Case, who left Congress after mounting a failed challenge to U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii).
At the closing of the endorsement ad, Young hugs Hirono and declares, “Hawaii needs you.”
“I’m certainly humbled a Republican friend like Don has taken this extra step of endorsing my candidacy for U.S. Senate,” said Hirono. “But I am even more proud of the work he and I have done together as Republican and Democrat to protect vital Native Hawaiian and Native Alaskan education programs.
“Whatever his generous endorsement may mean for my Senate campaign, what matters most to me is that our bipartisan relationship helps solve problems for the people of Hawaii. Ours is an example of friendly cooperation and meaningful collaboration that Washington must follow, especially in challenging times like these.”
Beyond their alliance to promote education programs in their respective states, Young and Hirono have worked together to assist geographically disadvantaged farmers and ranchers by helping defray the costs of fertilizer and feed, as well as the cost of transporting their goods to market — an important piece of Hirono’s plan to make Hawaii stronger and more sustainable when it comes to producing home-grown food and renewable energy.
Additionally, as members of the House Rural Healthcare Coalition, Young and Hirono were co-sponsors of the Healthcare Safety Net Act of 2008, which amended the Public Health Service Act to provide additional assistance for rural health center programs.
Hirono has also been focused on another bipartisan partnership, as co-author of the Visit USA Act with Republican U.S. Rep. David Dreier of San Dimas. The Hirono-Dreier legislation is designed to streamline the visa application process and dramatically increase the number of Chinese and other tourists visiting Hawaii and the continental U.S. each year.
Experts say Hirono’s bipartisan Visit USA bill could lead to the creation of at least 6,000 additional tourism jobs in Hawaii.
If Hirono defeats Case in the Aug. 11 primary, she will face Republican Linda Lingle in the general election. The winner will succeed Akaka, who is retiring.
In the 2002 gubernatorial race, Hirono, then lieutenant governor, lost to Lingle, then mayor of Maui. Lingle, Hawaii’s first female governor, was re-elected four years later. Hirono was elected to Congress in 2006, 2008 and 2010.