By: D. Kennedy
Edward Espenett Case is a Democratic politician and currently serving as the U.S Representative for Hawaii’s 1st congressional district. His wife, Audrey Nakamura, is a flight attendant with United Airlines. They have two children together from Aubrey’s previous marriage.
Case won his first election, to the Manoa Neighborhood Board of Honolulu, and held the position as a chairman from 1987-1989. He won the Democratic primary and was a member of the Hawaii House of Representatives from the 23rd district from 1994-2002. He then represented the Hawaii 2nd congressional district until 2006. In 2013, Case announced his political career was “likely” over, until 2018 when he reversed his decision and won the Democratic primary in Hawaii’s 1st congressional district again. He won the general election in 2020 for U.S House Hawaii District 1 against Republican candidate Ron Curtis, winning with a lead of 64.7% to 25.1%.
Case’s next two-year term will commence on January 3, 2021. He was one of the many U.S House colleagues who co-sponsored and passed H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. While it adopts national standards for transparency and modernizes police forces, there are many problems with the bill, including issues regarding “qualified immunity,” restricted public disclosure of critical information, and community-led solutions to “reimagine” public safety.
Case has faced several instances of backlash from the community, including a comment he made following a helicopter crash that killed seven people earlier this year.
“If Hawaii’s tour helicopter/small aircraft industry does not view twenty-one tragic deaths in one year alone as any safety concern, if it believes widespread public concern is not important, then we have a much much larger problem,” Case said.
The owner of an Oahu helicopter tour company, Richard Schuman, fired back at Case for painting the entire industry as unsafe. “It’s amazing politicians can say whatever they want and not back it up,” he told reporters at a press conference.
Case has been called out for his strong regulations of the tourism industry in Hawaii, specifically the tour helicopter industry. Schuman, however, argued that the Hawaii helicopter industry is one of the most heavily regulated. Case also voted for the reinstitution of DACA, which was originally voted and pushed through by former President Barack Obama without any congressional authority.
Case has also co-sponsored and voted for multiple bills, including the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and Assault Weapons Ban Act. He also wants to start strict applications of land use planning and zoning laws to reject any new hotel and resort areas to limit building. This takes away thousands of jobs for Hawaii residents and millions of dollars from the tourism industry.
While Case holds an impressively large resume, the bills he has co-sponsored and voted on do not help the support of Hawaii residents and businesses thrive, especially in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic. To him, it’s all about limiting things. That’s what Democrats do.