My Annual Day on the Hill.

My plans for travel in April are shaping up nicely. They include Opening Day at Fenway Park in Boston, yet another ride on VIA Rail’s superb Train #1, The Canadian, from Toronto to Vancouver, and for more Red Sox games—two against the Seattle Mariners and two more with the Oakland A’s.

The main excuse and the justification for the trip is the three-day conference of the Rail Passengers Association that occurs every April in Washington. It’s two days of meetings and one Day on Capitol Hill when we spend the day meeting with the elected officials from our respective states to talk about the importance of passenger rail to their constituents.

The Hawaii delegation is small as befits a state our size, although I suspect you will be surprised to hear that no less than 10 states have smaller populations than Hawaii. 

Our two representatives are Ed Case and Tulsi Gabbard. Ed is an attorney by trade and a Democrat; Tulsi is still a candidate for president, but obviously with no chance. She is not running for re-election because she has no chance in that race either. 

Hawaii is represented in the Senate by two interesting and very special people. Mazie Hirono was born in Japan and arrived in Hawaii as a young girl with her mother. She is an attorney and has, for good reason, developed a reputation in Washington for being a very tough lady.

Hawaii’s other senator is Brian Schatz, also a Democrat. Let me say—and please note that you heard it here first—this is an exceptional individual. He has the ability, with patience and persistence, to work with political opponents for the common good. He is liked and respected by colleagues of both parties. Not so long ago, an astute and well-respected political consultant was asked his opinion of Brian Schatz. His response was a prediction:  “Senate Majority Leader in 20 years,” he said. And he’s right:  Brian Schatz is that special. 

Remember: You heard it here first!