BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – News that President Barack Obama arrived in Hawaii this weekend to join his wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha in time for a Christmas holiday has been covered by news media worldwide.
The first family and their friends have been enjoying a reclusive 17-day holiday vacation in beach front homes in Kailua, Oahu.
But another powerful politician is here for the holidays as well, albeit on another island and with less media attention.
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, who served as Speaker of the House and is now head of the House minority, is once again spending her Christmas at the exotic Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu in Kona on the island of Hawaii.
Pelosi attended 9 p.m. mass in St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Kailua-Kona.
The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai’s details its luxurious setting and amenities on its web site: “Gloriously revitalised, this natural tropical paradise offers more than ever to explore – with a newly expanded Spa, beachfront dining, fashion boutiques and new Deluxe Suites, in addition to Jack Nicklaus signature golf. Set on the Big Island’s exclusive Kona-Kohala Coast, this showpiece resort captures the essence of Hawaiian design, culture and tradition.”
Pelosi has her share of allies in Hawaii, including Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who she defended during his successful campaign for governor in 2010. When Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Mufi Hannemann claimed during the primary that Abercrombie was not effective in Congress, Pelosi issued a statement calling Abercrombie “outstanding, effective and courageous.”
Pelosi has been escorted by local police during her last two holiday visits to Hawaii Island at a cost of $34,000 to local taxpayers.
Obama’s trip to the island of Oahu has proved much pricier to state and federal taxpayers.
In a Hawaii Reporter story published last week, the total cost (based on what is known) for a 17-day round trip vacation to Hawaii for the President and his family and staff and security is an estimated $4,113,038.
That includes $3,629,622 for separate travel for the president and his family, $151,200 for housing for security, $72,216 for staff to stay in one of Hawaii’s most luxurious resorts, the Moana Surfrider in Waikiki, and local police protection and ambulance detail for $260,000.