“I can tell you right now, in government I don’t think there’s waste, per se.”

That was the statement Congressional Democratic Candidate Colleen Hanabusa made in a forum moderated by Hawaii Reporter Editor Malia Zimmerman at the Smart Business Hawaii Annual Conference on January 13, 2010.

The comment was not well received by the packed audience primarily made up of small business owners who believe government waste is a major problem creating unnecessary financial burdens on them.

Hanabusa lost the special congressional election to GOP Congress Member Charles Djou, D-HI, but she is running against him again in the general election, November 2.

Now Djou is using Hanabusa’s statement to his advantage. In his most recent television campaign advertisement entitled “Out of Control”, he targets Hanabusa by replaying her comment.

Djou counters: “The voters of Hawaii know that government at all levels needs to be reformed to be more responsible, efficient and accountable. Based on my experience in the State House, City Council and the United States Congress, I believe that city, state and federal government can all be more efficient. This is something my opponent does not understand. She wrongly believes that government is as efficient as it’s going to get.”

The special election that Djou won included former Congressman Ed Case. Djou comments: “Ed Case noted that Colleen Hanabusa would simply rubber-stamp the reckless and wasteful spending of Congress and I agree.  That’s why in the Special Election nearly 70% of voters split their vote between two candidates who represented a break from the status quo and the establishment behind it.”

Hanabusa, in a previous interview with Hawaii Reporter and KHVH News Radio, said her statement was taken out of context. Also the Hawaii State Senate President, Hanabusa says she was trying to compliment Hawaii GOP Gov. Linda Lingle for cutting state government during tough economic times, so there is no waste remaining.

Smart Business Hawaii members at the January conference were vocal in their disagreement with Hanabusa, suggesting that the state cut whole departments to lessen tax burdens on small business owners and operators.

Djou, who is opposed to further government bailouts, maintains that the government is wasting “billions of dollars” and pledges fiscal responsibility. Hanabusa supports additional federal stimulus programs.

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