Isles urged as site for Obama library
By Mark Niesse
President Obama should put his future presidential library in Hawai'i, where he was born and raised, according to state lawmakers.
The House Tourism, Culture and International Affairs Committee unanimously passed a resolution yesterday urging Obama to choose Hawai'i as the location for the library, which will serve as the repository for the documents, records and artifacts of his presidency.
"It could be a home away from home for the first family and their work after the presidency," said Robert Perkinson, an American studies professor at the University of Hawai'i who is preparing a presidential library proposal.
The resolution would be mailed to Obama if it's approved by the full House, which appears likely because 47 of 51 representatives signed on to it.
Even several Republicans are supporting the effort. Hawai'i voters backed him more than any other state with 72 percent of the vote.
"It should be bipartisan, and I think it truly is," said Rep. Barbara Marumoto, R-19th (Kaimukī, Wai'alae, Kāhala), noting that a presidential library would bring tourists to the Islands.
It could be built on a waterfront property and give Honolulu's skyline a landmark comparable to the Sydney Opera House, Perkinson said.
Hawai'i will likely have to compete with Illinois, Obama's other home state.
The state will need to raise about $2.5 million for a bid proposal to Obama's advisers, Perkinson said. If Obama picks Hawai'i, the library would attract more than $250 million in outside money from foundations and donors to build it, he said.