Meet Colleen Hanabusa
A fourth-generation American of Japanese Ancestry, Colleen Hanabusa was born in Honolulu and raised in Wai‘anae, where her parents, Isao and June, ran a gas station. She attended St. Andrew’s Priory, the University of Hawaii, and the William S. Richardson School of Law.
In 1998, Colleen was elected to represent the 21st District in the Hawai‘i State Senate, and in 2007, her colleagues elected Colleen to serve as President of the Hawai‘i State Senate where she became the first woman to serve as leader of either chamber of the Hawai‘i legislature. Colleen was also the first Asian-American woman to lead either chamber of a state legislature in the United States.
In 2010, she was elected to represent the First Congressional District of Hawai‘i in the U.S. House of Representatives where she served two terms. While a member of the House, she served on the House Armed Services and Natural Resources Committees. In her second term, she was named the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs.
In 2015, Colleen began service as chair on the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART), bringing much-needed leadership to the over-budget project. In November 2016, following the untimely loss of her colleague, Congressman Mark Takai, she returned to Washington for the remainder of the 114th Congress and the 115th Congress.
Colleen’s leadership experience crosses public and private sectors, as well as state and federal office, providing a sound, well-rounded perspective critical to leading the state.