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Neil Abercrombie

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Neil Abercrombie

Neil Abercrombie
7th Governor of Hawaii
In office
December 6, 2010 – December 1, 2014
Lieutenant Brian Schatz
Shan Tsutsui
Preceded by Linda Lingle
Succeeded by David Ige
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1991 – February 28, 2010
Preceded by Pat Saiki
Succeeded by Charles Djou
In office
September 20, 1986 – January 3, 1987
Preceded by Cecil Heftel
Succeeded by Pat Saiki
Personal details
Born (1938-06-26) June 26, 1938
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Nancie Caraway
Alma mater Union College
University of Hawaii, Mānoa
Religion Episcopalianism[1]

Neil Abercrombie (born June 26, 1938) is an American politician who served as the seventh Governor of Hawaii from 2010 to 2014.[2] He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Born in Buffalo, New York, Abercrombie is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Abercrombie began his political career in 1975, after winning a seat in the Hawaii House of Representatives. He served in the Hawaii House until 1979, when he was elected to the Hawaii State Senate. Upon the resignation of Cecil Heftel, who resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives to run for Governor, Abercrombie was appointed to his vacant seat in 1986. Abercrombie served the remainder of Heftel's term on an interim basis until 1987. He served on the Honolulu City Council from 1988 to 1990 before returning to Congress in 1991. Abercrombie served nine consecutive terms in the House from 1993 to 2010, representing Hawaii's 1st congressional district, which comprises urban Honolulu.

After incumbent Governor Linda Lingle was term limited and prevented from running for reelection, Abercrombie declared his candidacy for Governor in March 2009. In September 2010, Abercrombie won in the Democratic primary, defeating four Democratic challengers, including Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, with 59% of the vote. Abercrombie went on to face Republican nominee, Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona, in the general election.

On November 2, 2010, Abercrombie and running mate Brian Schatz defeated Aiona with 57% of the vote. Abercrombie was sworn into office on December 6, 2010. He tried to deal with various problems of the state that included the aftermath of the great recession, restructuring labor union pensions and other issues. He was defeated in the Hawaii Democratic primary by state senator David Ige.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Political career 2
    • U.S. Congress 2.1
    • 2010 gubernatorial campaign 2.2
    • Governor of Hawaii 2.3
  • Personal life 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6

Early life and education

Abercrombie was born June 26, 1938 in

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Cecil Heftel
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Pat Saiki
Preceded by
Pat Saiki
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Hawaii's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Charles Djou
Party political offices
Preceded by
Randy Iwase
Democratic nominee for Governor of Hawaii
Succeeded by
David Ige
Political offices
Preceded by
Linda Lingle
Governor of Hawaii
Succeeded by
David Ige
  • Neil Abercrombie for Governor
  • Neil Abercrombie at DMOZ

External links

Further reading

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  7. ^ (Subscription required)
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  9. ^ Roll call vote 145, via
  10. ^ Roll call vote 455, via
  11. ^ H.R. 1312
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  13. ^ Roll call vote 378, via
  14. ^ Roll call vote 398, via
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  16. ^ H.R. 676
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Abercrombie currently resides in the Manoa Valley area of Honolulu.

In 2006 Abercrombie was named "Scot of the Year" by the Caledonian Society of Hawaii.[42]

Abercrombie is an avid weightlifter and has a stated goal of lifting 200 lbs more than his age on each birthday.[39] On his 72nd birthday, he bench pressed 272 lbs.[40][41]

In 1981, Abercrombie married Nancie Caraway,[38] who is a political scientist and feminist writer at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa's Globalization Research Center.

Personal life

In a hard-fought primary on August 9, 2014, Abercrombie was defeated by state senator David Ige taking just 31% of the vote to Ige's 67%, making him the first incumbent governor to lose a primary in 2014 and the first ever in Hawaii's history.[36][37]

After an intense special session, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law a bill that legalized marriage for same-sex couples in the State of Hawai‘i. Stating: “The legalization of marriage for same-sex couples is part of the long history of civil rights movements in the United States. Many people have worked tireless to make this day possible. This significant piece of legislation is a clear example of people exercising courage, determination and patient perseverance. The result advances equity in marriage and honors all First Amendment religious imperatives.” The new law takes effect on December 2, 2013. Hawaii was the 15th state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.[32][33][34][35]

In November 2013, Abercrombie was named to President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, a select group of governors, mayors and other leaders who will develop recommendations on how the federal government can better support local preparedness and resilience-building efforts.[30] Hawaii also signed onto the Majuro Declaration as a U.S. Climate Leader in September of that year, making the state the first sub-national government to sign.[31]

Abercrombie was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Council of Governors and served a 2012–2014 term. The council consists of 10 governors appointed by the President to focus on matters of national security, homeland defense, synchronization and integration of state and federal military activities in the United States and matters of mutual interest pertaining to the National Guard.[29]

Upon the death of longtime Senator Daniel Inouye Abercrombie was given the task of appointing a replacement. The State Democratic Party gave him a list of three finalists and chose Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz, who is now the senior U.S. Senator from Hawai‘i.

In February 2011 Abercrombie signed into law a bill legalizing civil unions. His predecessor, Linda Lingle, had previously vetoed the legislation.[28] In 2013, he called the Hawaii Legislature into a special session to consider a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, which he signed into law on November 13.

According to polls, in October 2011, Abercrombie was the most unpopular governor in the country, with a 30% approval rating. [27]

When Abercrombie took office, he vowed to end the investigations into President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. A spokesperson for Abercrombie said he would ask the office of the Attorney General what they can do.[25] State Attorney General David M. Louie informed Abercrombie that state privacy laws prevent the release of "an individual's birth documentation without the person's consent" to persons who do not have "a tangible interest".[26]

Abercrombie was 72 when he was sworn in as governor, and was the oldest current United States governor for a little less than a month. On January 3, 2011, he lost that title to Jerry Brown of California, who is two months older than Abercrombie.

Abercrombie was sworn in as Governor of Hawaii on December 6, 2010, the first gubernatorial victor of the 2010 election cycle to be sworn into office. He succeeded Republican Governor Linda Lingle.

Neil Abercrombie sworn in as Governor of Hawaii

Governor of Hawaii

On November 2, 2010, Neil Abercrombie defeated his Republican opponent Duke Aiona by a margin of 57.8% to 40.8% to become Hawaii's 7th governor.[23][24] On November 3, 2010, during his victory speech, Governor-elect Abercrombie credited numerous individuals with his success, including the founder of the Department of Religion at the University of Hawaii Manoa, Dr. Mitsuo Aoki.

Abercrombie defeated his challenger, former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, in the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial primary election on September 18, 2010, 59.3 percent to 37.7 percent.[20][21][22]

During his campaign, Abercrombie released his "A New Day in Hawaii Plan", offering a roadmap based on Hawai‘i's values and priorities. The plan was the result of conversations with thousands of people and many hours of research. Abercrombie met with business people, entrepreneurs, economists, principals, teachers, parents, academics, public employees, farmers, nonprofit leaders, health professionals, students, seniors, conservationists, cultural practitioners, construction workers, and citizens of all backgrounds. He also held dozens of issue forums and meetings on every island to hear from residents about their concerns and hopes for Hawai‘i.[19]

On Sunday, March 9, 2009, he announced his intention to run for Governor of Hawaii instead of running for an 11th term.[18] On December 11, 2009 he announced that he would resign from Congress to concentrate on his gubernatorial bid. He was succeeded in Congress by Republican Charles Djou, the first Republican elected to Congress from Hawaii since Congresswoman Pat Saiki.

Neil Abercrombie and his running mate Brian Schatz with their spouses on the day of the election

2010 gubernatorial campaign

He served as chairman of the Armed Forces Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces and a senior member on the Natural Resources Committee. He co-authored landmark legislation creating public-private partnerships between the military and private developers to build, maintain and manage housing for today’s military families.

According to Project Vote Smart, Abercrombie holds the following issue positions: he is pro-choice, has voted against a ban on partial birth abortion, and has voted with the interests of NARAL and Planned Parenthood 100% between 2000 and 2006. He has voted for bills designed to make it easier for Americans to vote, such as the motor voter bill. He has advocated strongly for civil liberties; his voting record is supported by both the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and American Library Association. He was one of the 67 representatives to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 and has also voted against a constitutional amendment proposed in 2006 to limit marriage to being between one man and one woman.[13] Notably, he was one of only nine representatives not to cast a vote for or against the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001.[14] In 2005, he voted against the extension of the act, calling it “a blank check to trample civil liberties."[15] In 2007, he signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 676, which would have established a national health insurance program.[16] He resigned from Congress on February 28, 2010, to concentrate on his campaign for Governor.[17]

Neil Abercrombie was a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and compiled a generally liberal voting record. He supported and voted for the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.[9] On October 10, 2002, he was among the 133 members of the House who voted against authorizing the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[10] He cosponsored H.R. 1312 (Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2005) on July 28, 2005.[11] He took issue with the Vatican over not listing torture as a sin.[12]

At the end of his council tenure, Abercrombie once again ran for Congress and won in 1990, and was re-elected ten times. In the 2008 election, he won with 70.6% of the vote.

U.S. Congress

Abercrombie then set his sights on a seat of the Honolulu City Council. He won the race and served from 1988 to 1990.

Abercrombie first participated in a political campaign in 1970, seeking the Democratic nomination to the United States Senate. Unsuccessful, Abercrombie ran for the Hawaii State House of Representatives where he served from 1975 to 1979. A distinguishing symbol of Abercrombie's early campaigns was a yellow Checker Taxi with his name and face painted on the side, the use of which was motivated by a lack of money for traditional campaigning methods. The taxi became a symbol of both his standing as an outsider from the mainland and his unconventional style.[7] He moved to the Hawaii State Senate, where he served from 1980 to 1986. After Representative Cecil Heftel resigned from the United States Congress in July 1986 to run for Governor of Hawaiʻi, Abercrombie was elected to the House in a September 1986 special election to complete Heftel's unexpired term. However, on the same day Abercrombie lost the Democratic primary for a full two-year term to Mufi Hannemann, who went on to lose to Republican Pat Saiki in the general election.[8]

Political career

To support himself as a graduate student, Abercrombie worked as a waiter at Chuck’s Steak House in Waikīkī, locker desk clerk at the Central YMCA, custodian at Mother Rice Preschool, construction apprentice program director, elementary school teacher, and a college lecturer.[6]

[5]Barack Obama, Sr. and Ann Dunham, Barack Obama President At the university he befriended and attended classes with the parents of [4] in American Studies.doctorate where he earned a master's degree in sociology and later a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, a month after statehood in September 1959 to study at the Honolulu, Hawaii, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1959. He arrived in Schenectady, New York in Union College), he went on to pursue studies in sociology at Williamsville South High School Upon graduating from Williamsville High School (now [3]

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