Honolulu City Councilan Ikaika Anderson, a Democrat, announced Thursday that he is entering the race to represent Hawaii's 1st Congressional District.
Anderson, flanked by family and supporters, focused his remarks on the need for improved economic opportunities for Hawaii’s working families, and protecting Social Security and Medicare for retirees.
Anderson also described himself as a consensus builder with a record of bringing varying sides of an issue together to move forward on meaningful legislation; a trait that he says is much needed in Congress right now.
"As a Honolulu City Council member, I’ve built a solid reputation as a consensuses builder," said Anderson. "Congress is broken and we need a consensus builder, a team player and a critical and creative thinker who will go to Washington and work on behalf of all of us to advocate for our island home."
Anderson wants Congress to get more creative. He questioned why Hawaii's most impacted citizens, renters, can’t receive consideration and benefits as federal employees who receive a pay differential via a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). He suggested that, to provide greater parity, Congress could be looking at providing Hawaii's overburdened renters with a tax-credit similar to the COLA formula.
"Have we ever sought to reprioritize some of the many millions of dollars that come from D.C. and find more creative ways of using them to assist Hawaii’s middle-class? If the Federal Government is going to extend help to individuals in areas of high living expenses, that help should not be limited to a select minority," said Anderson.
Anderson cited this as one example of the type of creative options he wants Congress to consider when looking at ways to improve the economic condition of the working middle-class.
The Honolulu councilman is running against State Rep. Mark Takai, Sen. Will Espero and fellow Councilman Stanley Chang for the seat in the U.S. House currently held by Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.
Anderson has worked in government for the last 15 years, and has served two terms on the Honolulu City Council. He currently holds the position of Vice-Chair of the Council.
Anderson is a 1996 graduate of Kamehameha Schools and 2002 graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa with degrees in Journalism and Political Science. He is married to the former Lisa Hirata and together they have four children -- Tiani, 11, J.W., 9, and twins Kaleb and Kaili, both 3 years old.