In the first ever televised debate between Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, the candidates had plenty of chances to show the public who would be the better candidate in 2014.
Supporters came out in full force outside the KITV4 studio to sign wave, but inside the candidates got ready to for the one-hour long live debate.
Hanabusa and Schatz are fighting to fulfill the remainder of late Daniel Inouye's term in the U.S. Senate, which is two more years.
Inouye's wish that Hanabusa succeed him has been a hot topic since his death and the candidates addressed that issue.
“To have the Senator’s endorsement and even Sen. Akaka’s endorsement as well, along with Gov. Ariyoshi and Gov. Cayetano, is something I will always cherish. I will always have in my heart as an indication of how they view me,” said Hanabusa.
“He built modern Hawaii. He built the East West Center. He built our transportation infrastructure. He understood that it was necessary to look out for regular people and working families and middle-class families. My approach to being the United States Senate is to try and continue his legacy,” said Schatz.
Soon after that topic the candidates began to point out their differences. One of those topics included how they view Nation Security Agency whistleblower and former Hawaii resident Edward Snowden and what Congress should do to address privacy concerns.
“Against the reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Service Act, it was for one simple reason that I did not think that it protected our privacy within the confines of the fourth amendment. I do not believe that FISA is being administered properly and I think the surveillance state has gotten a little bit over the edge,” said Schatz. “Congress has to exercise its oversite responsibility.”
“I think he has to come forward. He has to stand trial and see how his peers judge him. That’s what this is all about. Yes we learned a lot through what he did, but was he truly a whistleblower? Those are decisions the court system has to determine and that is what I believe in,” said Hanabusa.
The debate got very heated between the two when they started asking each other questions about cutting social security and Medicare.