HONOLULU — Mayor Kirk Caldwell has appointed former Rep. Colleen Hanabusa as a board member of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART), according to KHON-TV.

Hanabusa, 64, who served two terms in Congress and was previously president of the Hawaii State Senate, will oversee the city’s multi-billion dollar rail transit project.

Colleen Hanabusa
Colleen Hanabusa

She gave up her seat in the House of Representatives last year to run against incumbent Sen. Brian Schatz, a fellow Democrat, who won the election.

“I am confident that Congresswoman Hanabusa, with her decades of service as an attorney, as Hawaii Senate president, and in Congress, will closely monitor HART’s spending and safeguard taxpayer money,” Caldwell said. “Being from Waianae, she knows how badly west side residents need this alternative to sitting in some of the worst traffic in the entire nation every day.

“She worked alongside Sen. Dan Inouye to secure the federal funding and now I thank her for seeing the project through construction.”

Hanabusa is replacing the board’s former chairperson, Carrie Okinaga, who will serve as the University of Hawaii’s vice president for legal affairs and general counsel.

“I really do look forward for the opportunity of literally rolling up my sleeves and delving into everything,” Hanabusa said, “and hopefully having answers for all of you when you raise questions as well. It’s going to be a challenge.”

Hanabusa’s appointment to the 10-member board is an unpaid position.

The former congresswoman has also joined the board of Honolulu-based Hawaii Gas along with Colbert Matsumoto of Island Holdings Inc. and A. Catherine Ngo of Central Pacific Bank.

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