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Neil A. Abercrombie
Birthdate: June 26, 1938
Birth Place: Buffalo, NY, United States
Residence: Honolulu, HI
First Elected: 2010
Undergraduate: Union College
Graduate: University of Hawaii
Graduate: University of Hawaii
Neil Abercrombie was born in Buffalo, N.Y. He earned a bachelor's degree from Union College, a master's degree and a doctorate in American studies from the University of Hawaii.
He was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives in 1974 and was re-elected in 1976. He was elected to the state Senate in 1978 and was re-elected in 1982. He was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 1988.
Abercrombie was first elected to a full term in the U.S. House in 1990.
He resigned from his House seat in February 2010 to run for governor. He was elected governor in 2010.
Abercrombie and his wife, Nancie Caraway, reside in Honolulu.
Neil Abercrombie has been a well-known figure in Hawaii political circles for more than four decades, holding elected office in state and local government, as well as the U.S. House.
He and President Barack Obama's late parents were college friends in the early 1960s. He was an early supporter of Obama and a longtime opponent of the war in Iraq.
The Democrat was elected governor of Hawaii in 2010, beating then Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona by 17 points.
Abercrombie ran on a platform he called "A New Day In Hawaii," which called for investments in education, a rebuilt economy focused on prosperity for the middle class and restoring public confidence in Hawaii.
In April 2012, Abercrombie signed a historic bill settling a land dispute that lasted three decades. Under the legislation, the state gave the Office of Hawaiian Affairs 30 acres of waterfront property in Honolulu worth $200 million.
Abercrombie also signed a law allowing civil unions between gay couples in February 2011, and went further when a couple sued the state saying they should be allowed to be married. The case put Abercrombie in the unusual position of both being a defendant in the lawsuit while supporting the plaintiffs' claims, saying a same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. A judge ruled against the couple in August 2012.
Abercrombie's predecessor, Gov. Linda Lingle ordered most departments to cut their budgets by 14 percent in 2009. Abercrombie has restored some critical functions since he took over in December 2010 but spending still remains lower than before.
After the state ended the fiscal year $300 million in the black, Abercrombie said in July 2012 that he wanted to concentrate on restoring some government services like workers killing rats and agriculture inspectors looking out for invasive species, as well as stabilize growing unfunded liabilities like employee pension contributions.
Abercrombie was unsuccessful in his attempt to tax soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages.
In his last term in Congress, he sponsored legislation to study the impact of human activities on marine mammals and to prevent war profiteering. He helped campaign for the approximately $800 billion economic stimulus package backed by Obama that was passed in February 2009 and congressional recognition of native Hawaiians.
Abercrombie won his first full term in the U.S. House in 1990, when he ran on the slogan, "Abercrombie Back to Congress."
He played up his three-month tenure as an interim House member in late 1986, when he was elected in a special election to serve the remainder of the term of Democratic Rep. Cecil Heftel, who had resigned to run for governor. Three months later, Abercrombie lost in the general election to Republican Pat Saiki. Abercrombie won the seat back in 1990, when Saiki ran for the Senate rather than seek re-election to the House. Abercrombie has won every race since. He faced only token opposition in 2008.
Despite staunch opposition to the Vietnam War and the Iraq war, Abercrombie touts his ability to work in partnership with the military and in bipartisan fashion with colleagues on the armed services panel. This is no contradiction, Abercrombie said.
"My views on the Vietnam War remain, that we were using the military to fill a political void. This country should not rely on generals to make policy," he said. "I see my work on armed services as a fulfillment of my principles and the motivating force of my life. I never opposed the military ... It's not about pro-war or anti-war, but how do you keep the peace?"
He voted against intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo, saying diplomatic options had not been exhausted. He opposed the U.S.-led coalition invasion and occupation of Iraq.
But he trumpeted his role in annually obtaining billions of dollars for military housing in Hawaii and getting a Stryker Brigade and C-17 transport wing stationed in Hawaii.
Source: Associated Press
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