HONOLULU (KHON2) — Reaction to Joe Biden’s win was met with mixed emotions in the islands, but Hawaii’s Congressional members said they believe Biden and Harris will forge unity in a divided country.
More than 100 Trump supporters gathered at the Capitol on Nov. 7 to demonstrate — unhappy with Joe Biden being named President-elect.
In a statement, Hawaii’s Republican Party Chair Shirlene Ostrov said:
“In Hawaii, we are standing for transparency, free and fair elections and the assurance that every legal vote will be counted, that legal votes can be cast only once; and illegal votes are to be discarded. With different pockets of voting irregularities around the country, it is our duty to ensure for the American people that this process is full of light, truth, transparency and freedom. This is the foundation of America. The moment that is taken away from us is the moment we lose what America is.”
But not everyone is disappointed with the news.
U.S. Representative Ed Case (D), said it took a little while for our democracy to work, but it did.
“And democracy gave us Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I thought it was a beautiful example of folks throughout our country coming together to make a choice for our future. I welcome the choice of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I thought that they were the right choice for our country,” said Case.
Senator Kai Kahele (D), recently elected to Congress, said he was excited when he heard the announcement on the morning of Nov. 7.
“I think today’s a great day for our country as well. You know, it’s it’s an exciting time. And I’m looking forward, as somebody who is going to represent Hawaii in Congress, to be able to have a democratic person in the White House and to start to put our country back together.”
Case, Kahele and U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D) all said they believe Biden and Harris will unite the country.
“In every state, there’s always a divided electorate. I think the encouraging thing about Joe Biden is his ability to reach across the aisle and reach across the country to try to find common ground right now. We have a pandemic that, at least on the mainland, is getting worse. And the economic challenges that are attached to that really has to be addressed on a bipartisan basis,” Schatz explained.
Democratic Party Chair Tyler Dos Santos-Tam SAID he was thrilled, and that the win also marks a historic moment.
“Not only do we have a 46th President, but we’ve just elected a woman as Vice President. A woman who’s Black and South Asian and that is an exciting moment. For us here in Hawaii, where we’re so multiracial and multicultural. I think it’s a wonderful thing.”
Political analyst Dr. John Hart said Biden’s coronavirus response will be very different than President Trump’s, and that will it have a huge impact in Hawaii.
“President Trump viewed (COVID-19) more as something the state should do and was more of a believer and herd immunity type thing. Biden believes in a federal response, and is going to try to curtail it more rather than letting it run through,” Hart explained.
One of the biggest issues for Hawaii residents is unemployment, and Hart said that it is directly linked to the coronavirus.
“The economy and COVID are not separate issues. COVID is the economy right ow. So when people say, ‘I care about the economy. I don’t care about COVID.’ Well, no, COVID is driving what’s going on in the economy. And so I think Biden’s response, hopefully, will be more effective because if we get a better handle on COVID, the economy will improve.”
Hart said Biden will also likely push for more federal financial assistance.
“Biden, I think, will be more supportive of more stimulus money, which is probably needed at this point. So, I think at the national level, they’ll be more willing to spend more money to try to support those businesses that are struggling and people that are out of work.”