Absentee Democratic lawmaker also working as an airline pilot returns to Washington after bad headlines


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A Hawaii Democrat who hasn’t reported for work in Washington in months has returned to Congress after a series of headlines about his absences.

Rep. Kai Kahele, D-Hawaii, was spotted Tuesday afternoon in the Capitol rotunda taking photos with a group of people who appeared to be on tour. This is the first time Kahele has run for Congress for votes since January.

Kai Kahele arrives in Washington for Congressional Orientation in November 2020.
(Marisa Schultz/Fox News)

In a brief interview with Fox News Digital, Kahele defended his absences and noted that he technically never ran out of votes while staying in Hawaii.

“I haven’t missed a single vote this year. Not a single one,” Kahele said.

HAWAII DEMOCRAT HAS NOT BEEN TO DC IN MONTHS, STILL WORKING AS AN AIRLINE PILOT

The House instituted proxy voting during the coronavirus pandemic that allows a colleague to vote on behalf of an absent legislator. Kahele previously cited legitimate COVID-19 concerns about new variants and living in a “multi-generational home” for her absences and prolonged use of proxy voting.

Kai Kahele won the Democratic primary in his bid to succeed Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii.

Kai Kahele won the Democratic primary in his bid to succeed Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii.
(Kai Kahele for Congress)

the Honolulu Civil Beat first reported that Kahele only ran for five votes in 2022 while still working part-time as a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines.

Kahele’s office has previously defended her work at Hawaiian Airlines as authorized by House ethics rules and argued that her flight experience brings a positive outlook to Congress — including on the Transportation and Transportation Committee. infrastructure of the Chamber which manages aviation policy.

ABSENT DEM DECISION-MAKER SERVES ON INVOICE PROCESSING COMMITTEE AFFECTING HIS EMPLOYER, HAWAIIAN AIRLINES

When asked Tuesday if he intended to continue working for Hawaiian Airlines while in Congress, “Yeah, absolutely,” Kahele told Fox News Digital.

The US Capitol in Washington on November 2, 2020.

The US Capitol in Washington on November 2, 2020.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Kahele’s office previously said he only flies for Hawaiian Airlines occasionally to maintain his pilot certification and within House ethics rules, which cap annual outside earnings at $29,895. in 2022.

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His salary as a congressman is $174,000.


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