Running for Congress is a very difficult job that few will ever experience. It costs money, time, and sometimes happiness. It is a very demanding role that is difficult for anyone to undertake. Yet this man has become very good at meeting this brutal challenge; he’s done it three times! Introducing Hawaii's Congressman: Ed Case.
On Sept. 19, Ed Case visited ‘Iolani to talk to the students about his role as a politician. One of the key points in his speech was his explanation of how he had started out in politics. In Case’s senior year of college, most of his friends were preparing to become doctors, lawyers, or businessmen. Meanwhile, Case took a gap year and traveled to Australia. He later interned for the late U.S. State Senator Spark Matsunaga, which believed to have found his calling as a politician.
“Find your passion and pursue it,” Case said. “My passion, being a politician, has driven me for all these years.”
Born on September 27, 1952, in Hilo HI, Ed Case was the eldest of six children. Case went to high school at Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Kamuela. He later obtained his bachelor‘s degree in psychology from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Case continued his education at University of California Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. Case finally ended his academic career and entered the workforce as a law clerk for Hawaii Supreme Court Justice William Richardson. He continued to work in law firms until his decision to serve Hawaii through government.
In 2002, he ran for governor and lost, but was specially selected to replace Patsy T. Mink as Congressman after her death. In 2003, he ran for Congressman again and won against three dozen other political opponents. The following year he beat Mike Gabbard to win his first full term (two-year term). During his service as a member of the US House of Representatives, he led the passing of 36 bills.
Case ran for the U.S. Senate (a six-year term) in 2006, but lost his primary election to Daniel Akaka. In 2010, he ran for a two-year term but came 11 percent short of winning and three percent short of taking second. In 2012, Case ran against Mazie Hirono once again, but lost to this time around by 17 percent.
Despite his six-year losing streak, Case showed true determination by winning the 2018 democratic primary election. Case decided to return to Congress because he felt that Hawaii and Washington D.C. were becoming disjointed. “If you surveyed 100 Americans on whether they approve or disapprove of their government, only about ten to fifteen percent approve.” Case said, “This is sad and tragic.”
Case explained that Hawaii has the lowest percentage of people who vote in the United States. Twenty years ago, Hawaii was on the other side of the scale, being the top contributor of votes. Case feels the problem is that people’s faith in the government is shaken. When people feel they aren’t being represented by their government, they start to “opt out” of voting. When a growing number of people decide to stop participating in the legislative process, what’s left over doesn’t represent our country. Case believed this started when the role of money in politics increased and the sources of this money became narrower.
Although a prominent public figure in Hawaii, Case still maintains an active family life. He is married to Audrey Nakamura and has four grown children (James, David, Dave and Megan). In his free time, Case enjoys visiting the beach, reading, exercising, gardening, traveling, and spending time with friends.
Ed Case still believes that the change is possible. With a stronger sense of government, a peace between parties, and a more involved younger generation, our country could change the world. Case ended his presentation with a meaningful message: ‘’I think our country has been a powerful force for good in this world, and it can continue to be so,” he said.