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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Abercrombie, Hough merit primary support

In the midst of the maelstrom over the vacant seat in the 2nd Congressional District, the primary race in the urban 1st District seems a relative island of calm. But there is a contest on both sides of the partisan aisle.

In the Democratic race, while The Advertiser may disagree with U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie on his push to begin withdrawal from Iraq following a set timeline, the incumbent's position on several key issues makes sense.

And, with his past performance in representing Hawai'i's best interests, Abercrombie deserves Democratic support.

Abercrombie, who has served us in Congress since 1986, has defended the environment by opposing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Locally, his backing for privatized military housing and for securing veteran benefits serves both Isle and national constituencies well.

His opponent, immigration attorney Alexandra Kaan, can't compete with an incumbent's elective service record but has some worthy ideas on immigration reforms, including a path to citizenship for undocumented workers.

On the Republican side, Richard Noah Hough, a military veteran who serves as a defense consultant at Schofield, presents a better informed and more detailed analysis of the issues than his opponent, Mark Terry. His position on government surveillance rightly requires the balance of judicial warrants. And his ideas for revisions to the Jones Act rather than a full repeal are more nuanced.

It's encouraging to see a vigorous race in this district, and an equally vigorous response from voters is warranted.