Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard keeps her offices open during the government shutdown

Hawaii’s elected Congressional officials are taking different approaches to managing their offices in Washington DC and Hawaii during the government shut down.

U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, D-HI, closed down her office completely, according to a statement on her web site.

“My office is currently closed due to the government shutdown. Correspondence with my office may be delayed once the office resumes normal business operations.  Casework and tours will be suspended until operations resume.  You can still use this site to make a request and you will receive a reply once operations return. Mahalo.”

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, D-HI, said on his web site that because of a mandate from the senate legal cousel, his office will be operating with minimal staff and only working on legislative issues.

“Senate legal counsel has informed our office that some of our functions must be suspended. With great disappointment, we announce that all constituent service work is legally prohibited from taking place and will be temporarily suspended. The Senate is only permitted to function in furtherance of its constitutionally-mandated authority to legislate. Therefore, our office is operating with a drastically reduced staff. As soon as this situation has been resolved, the office will resume all duties, including answering constituent calls, inquiries, and letters.”

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-HI, has furloughed all district staff and closed the Honolulu office, and also furloughed all of her Washington, DC staff with the exception of three key people.

Rod Tanonaka, Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), said: “Congresswoman Hanabusa and I agree that we need to consider office operations in light of which Congressional staff are essential to the immediate business of Congress, which is the passage of a continuing resolution to fund government operations and provide critical services to our constituents. In light of that, in the event of a shutdown, our plan is to furlough all district staff and close our Honolulu office, and also furlough all Washington, DC staff with the exception of the Congresswoman’s Legislative Director, Press Secretary, and Assistant.”

We hope that any shutdown will be brief, and that we will be able to get back to the business of serving our district soon. In the event of a protracted shutdown, we will reexamine our staffing needs and possibly recall staff to provide services to those who rely on our office for assistance.”

But U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said her offices in Honolulu and Washington, DC will remain open during the government shutdown and will have minimal staff on hand to assist constituents.

She also created official website to help constituents understand the impacts of government shutdown, providing a list of frequently asked questions available here.

“Between myself, my team in Hawai‘i and Washington, and the resources I have made available on my website, I want to provide the best possible service to my constituents during what will certainly be a difficult time. I am continuing to work with my colleagues to push for a reasonable solution to avert the shutdown, but will stand prepared to assist the people of Hawai‘i in every way possible until a common-sense deal can be struck.”

Gabbard said constituents may call (202) 225-4906 or (808) 541-1986 for assistance.

 

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