A conversation with U.S. Representative Ed Case from Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District
Representative Ed Case called this a “dark chapter for our country” when he spoke as the morning keynote at the 2021 Hawaii State of Reform Virtual Health Policy Conference. Case is the U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District. He was in the Capitol building during the insurrection and voted for the second impeachment of now former President Donald Trump.
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“Well I’m sad, this is not a joyous vote, this is not a joyous occasion, this is not a joyous time for our country,” Case said. “I never expected in Congress to have to vote to impeach a president. I didn’t come back to Congress with the intention of voting to impeach this president. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would have to vote twice, first time in our history to impeach a president [twice]. So the fact that I’m in a rarefied company, in terms of the 11,000 or so citizens of our country that have served in the U.S. House of Representatives. In impeaching I take no joy out of that, nonetheless I believe the president’s incitement to the violent assault last week on our U.S. capitol was in violation of his oath of office.”
When the insurrection occurred, Congress was in the midst of certifying electoral college ballots. This was the culmination of a months long campaign by Trump to claim that the election was invalid. Due to this campaign by the now former President, Case said that they had expected protests, and said that it was within their rights as Americans to protest, but none of them expected the protests would turn into an assault on the Capitol Building.
“I was in my office during that debate because of COVID-19 we are not supposed to assemble on the floor of the House unless it is to vote,” Case said. “So there were very few numbers of members of the House that were actually on the floor. Most of us were in our offices. I was watching the debate on the live feed and trying to make sure that I agreed that the result was a valid result. As I watched that debate, I could see at one point that something was seriously awry because of the activity on the floor. It was very unusual. Then I could hear, the assaulters trying to break down the doors of the House chamber, and then that live feed went silent. Then the external media told me what was happening. I started to get notifications on my phone, emergency notifications, which are very rare, saying there is an assault taking place on the Capitol. There is danger. Stay where you are, shelter-in-place. So that’s what I did for the next several hours until the events occurred and we could return to the business of affirming the election.”
Case said that although health care policy is just a small part of his priorities, he is excited to not have to fight to defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from the Trump administration. But is excited to work with the Biden administration in improving the ACA and furthering the goal of lowering the number of uninsured people in the United States.
The COVID-19 response is also a huge priority for Congress, Case said. He expects the body will stay committed to the increased manufacturing and distribution of vaccines, and he expects them to stay on the frontiers of science and to trust science.
Case also said that he is focused on the health care issues that are at the forefront in Hawaii. He is committed to addressing the physician shortage, the cost of practicing in the state and telehealth access.
“In an island state where we cannot just afford to put a Queens Hospital in every island,” Case said. “So we’ve got to rely on and promote telemedicine where we can to deliver high quality, high expertise, immediate health care engines to communities that don’t have ready access.”