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'You Still Have A Job To Do': 2nd Congressional District Candidates Voice Opinions Of Gabbard

Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

Two candidates running for Tulsi Gabbard's congressional seat are calling for her to do a better job in Congress. This comes a week after Gabbard voted "present" during the House impeachment decision.

Earlier this week, former Governor Neil Abercrombie called for Gabbard's resignation. He cited her poor voting and attendance record in Congress, while dedicating her time to her presidential run. Abercrombie called Gabbard's actions "unacceptable."

Steve Rousseau, a potential GOP candidate for the District 2 race, is also calling for Gabbard's resignation. He cites her move to New Hampshire to focus on her campaign rather than representing the people who elected her.

"Whether she's a Democrat or Republican, the people still have the right to be represented," said Rousseau.

Rousseau believes if Gabbard resigns early, it would not benefit the Republican party. But says it's better to have someone who can represent the people rather than be absent.

"On any given day, when a bill is being proposed, there could be something that could hurt or help the people of Hawai?i. [Elected officials] need to be there, so they can help make a difference or do all they can to make a difference."

Democratic candidate Kai Kahele isn't yet calling for Gabbard's resignation, but he says she still has a responsibility as a representative.

According to the website GovTrack, Gabbard missed nearly 86% of votes she was eligible to cast since the beginning of October 2019.

"Nobody says you can't run for president. If you want to run for president of the United States, good luck," said Kahele. "The issue is you still have a job to do . . . Just because you're running for president, doesn't mean you don't have a job to do."

"[She's] still collecting almost $175,000 in taxpayer funded salary. We're not paying for [Gabbard] to live up in New Hampshire, to not show up for work, or not engage in your district, " said Kahele.

"These are things you have to find balance, if you want to run for president. And if that's not the case, then maybe [Gabbard] should consider stepping down."

In response to Abercrombie's call for her to resign, Gabbard's Hawaii Communications Director T. Ilihia Gionson said her presidential campaign has not compromised her commitment to serving Hawaii residents, but he declined to comment when asked if Gabbard plans to resign.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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