State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim may be the most familiar face in the First Congressional District race. She has the most political experience, with 31 years in city and state government.
"It's not just the number of years, it's what I've done with those years," said Mercado Kim. "And again, being front and center on many of the tough issues. And that's why sometimes people may not like me because I have taken that tough stance."
She took a tough stance in the University of Hawaii hearings on the Stevie Wonder concert blunder.
That tenacity -- a product of her upbringing. One of five children growing up without a lot of money in Kalihi-Palama.
"Life was tough. I think that, and growing up in Kalihi, going to Farrington High School. My dad being a boxer and a middle child, I think that you have to fight for things and you have to stand up for yourself," said Mercado Kim.
After Farrington, she went on to UH then ran for office in 1982, because she didn't like the development in her Salt Lake neighborhood.
Today, the 61 year old represents Moanalua, Aiea and Kalihi Valley in the State Senate and says she's running for Congress because the people of Hawaii need a strong voice.
"We cut out as much waste as we can because I grew up poor and I understand how families have difficulty in making ends meet," said Mercado Kim.
She's also a mother -- something that makes her unique in this race.
"That's one thing that sets me apart from all of the other candidates. No other person is a mom, obviously running. And no other member of the delegation, current delegation, are moms," said Mercado Kim.
So what does Mercado Kim do to unwind?
"People look at me often and say I'm really tough, but one thing about me is I'm like Martha Stewart. I'm really crafty. I love to do things," said Mercado Kim.
She showed us the proof -- two quilts, each taking months to sew. Both were gifts for her son.
"It is a labor of love. Something I enjoy doing. And I guess I get to see the fruits of my labor right away, and so I get a lot of satisfaction out of doing this," said Mercado Kim.
The Democrats running for the District One seat will debate this Wednesday, July 23 at 8 p.m. LIVE on KITV and on KITV.com.