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Thursday, July 12, 2012
Hawaii Dems and Mr Jones
By Michael Hansen @ 2:31 PM :: 10365 Views :: Democratic Party, Jones Act

“Dems and Mr. Jones, they got a thing going on.  They both know it’s wrong.  But it’s much too strong to let it cool down now.”

by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council

That is the Democratic Party of Hawaii is so completely involved with the special interests – including maritime unions and domestic shipping interests – who benefit from and support the eponymous protectionist cabotage legislation introduced in Congress by Senator Wesley Jones in 1920  that they cannot extricate themselves from the ongoing relationship.

Nearly all the leading Hawaii Democratic Party candidates for federal office have strong relationships with the maritime unions and other shipping interests, and enjoy significant support from them.

Mufi Hannemann

A total of five Jones Act shipboard maritime unions have endorsed candidate Mufi Hannemann who is running in the Democratic Party primary for the open Hawaii Congressional District 2 seat representing rural Oahu and the Neighbor Islands (Niihau, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Hawaii (the Big) Island).

Former Honolulu Mayor Hannemann will be facing current Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard in the Democratic Party Primary.  The Hawaii State primary election will be held on August 11, 2012, and the deadline for registration is Thursday, July 12, 2012.

Hannemann announced on Friday, July 6, 2012, that four shipboard maritime unions had joined another shipboard union that endorsed him earlier on April 22, 2012.  This represents five out of six of the U.S. shipboard unions with a presence in Hawaii.

The shipboard maritime unions that have endorsed Hannemann are as follows:

·              Mater Mates & Pilots (MM&P)

·              Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (MEBA)

·              Pacific Coast Marine Firemen, Oilers, Watertenders and Wipers Association, also known as the “Marine Fireman’s Union”

·              Sailor’s Union of the Pacific (SUP)

·              Seafarers International Union of North America (SIU)

This leaves only the Inland Boatman’s Union of the Pacific (IBU), the marine division of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), not having endorsed Hannemann.  ILWU Local 142 endorsed Hannemann last November.

Mazie Hirono & Colleen Hanabusa

The Hawaii Ports Maritime Council, Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO, has also actively supported Democratic Party candidates including Hannemann, Congresswomen Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa.

Cong. Hirono is facing former Congressman Ed Case in the Democratic Party primary seeking the nomination to replace retiring U.S. Senator Dan Akaka.  The successful candidate will in all likelihood face former Governor Linda Lingle (R) in the general election on November 6, 2012.

Cong. Hanabusa is standing for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives, Hawaii Congressional District 2, and, in a rematch, will face former Congressman Charles Djou (R) in this year’s general election.  Mr. Djou lost to Cong. Hanabusa in the 2010 general election.  In the last election cycle, Cong. Hanabusa received substantial support from the maritime unions as Mr. Djou had adopted a policy position in favor of repealing the Jones Act.

On June 21, 2012,  Mr. Randy Swindell, President, Hawaii Ports Maritime Council, endorsed former Mayor Hannemann and Congresswoman Mazie Hirono for their long time support for “the nation’s freight cabotage laws”, i.e., the Jones Act, as they attended the Honolulu Ports Council annual barbeque.

Previously Mr. Swindell and the MEBA and SIU port agents, Mr. Luke Kaili and Ms. Hazel Galbiso respectively, endorsed Cong. Hanabusa.

The Maritime Trades Department of the AFL-CIO is an umbrella organization covering all the AFL-CIO affiliated unions that are maritime or maritime related.  The Maritime Trades Department has organized port councils around the country including in Honolulu to cover all Hawaii Ports. The AFL-CIO, its Maritime Trades Department and its various port councils are ardent supporters of the Jones Act and preference cargo legislation.

The Hawaii Ports Maritime Council’s membership includes:  the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (MEBA), Seafarers International Union of North America (SIU), Inland Boatmen’s Union of the Pacific (IBU), Hawaii Pilots Association, Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P) Pilots Division, MM&P Offshore Division, Marine Firemen, Watertenders, Oilers and Wipers, Sailor’s Union of the Pacific, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders, Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers.  (See: Maritime Trades Department AFL-CIO,

Ed Case

Of the major Hawaii Democratic Party candidates standing for election in this cycle, only former Cong. Ed Case has taken a public position challenging the Jones Act.  In his previous elections even when running for the State House during the 1990’s, Mr. Case maintained a formal position in favor of allowing foreign-flag ships into the interstate Hawaii trade.

While serving two terms representing Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District from 2002 through 2006, Mr. Case introduced into the 108th Congress on July 24, 2003 his Jones Act measure, Bill 2841, entitled “To amend the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, to allow transportation of merchandise in Hawaiian noncontiguous trade on foreign flag vessels.” 



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