Ed Case Papers

Ed Case

About Ed Case (1952- )

Edward (“Ed”) Espenett Case was born in Hilo, Island of Hawaiʻi, Territory of Hawaiʻi, on September 27, 1952. He is the oldest of six children of James “Jim” Case (lawyer) and Suzanne Case (librarian, archivist, and school administrator) and is part of the fourth generation of his family to live in Hawaiʻi. He is a cousin of Steve Case, the founder of America Online.

He graduated from the Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy high school (1970), from Williams College in Massachusetts with a B.A. in psychology (1975), and from Hastings College of Law, University of California with a juris doctor degree (1981).

In summers between his high school years, Case was an office messenger, container yard laborer, construction mason, and summer camp youth counselor. He was a “jackeroo” (cowboy) on an Australian sheep and cattle ranch for a year after graduating from high school.

Case was raised in a moderate Republican family, but became a Democrat, a conservative one, according to some. He had not intended to be a politician but after serving as a legislative aide to Representative—later Senator—Spark Matsunaga (1975-1978), he became very interested in politics as a career. He learned from Matsunaga the importance of staying connected to constituents and became well known for “talk story” sessions with people in his district. In his first two years in Congress, Case held 80 such sessions in Hawaiʻi.

Ed Case was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in two special elections in 2002—to fill the unexpired term of U.S. Rep. Patsy T. Mink, who died in office, and to fill the two-year term to which Mink was elected posthumously. In 2004, he was re-elected to the House and served through January 4, 2007. Case was elected to the U.S. House again in 2018, this time representing Hawaiʻi’s First Congressional District.

Before his Congressional terms, Case was elected four times (for a total of eight years) in the House of Representatives of the Hawaiʻi State Legislature (1994-2002). He was elected to the Mānoa Neighborhood Board (1985-1989) and was its chairman (1987-1989). He was also an attorney with Carlsmith Ball (1989-2002), specializing in land and commercial law, and was the firm’s Hawaiʻi managing partner for two years (1992-1994). After having started his political career as a legislative assistant to Spark M. Matsunaga, Case clerked for the Hawaiʻi Department of Labor (1979) and for Hawaiʻi’s Chief Justice, William Richardson (1981-1982).

The collection consists of papers from Case’s years in the U.S. Congress and from his terms in the Hawaiʻi Legislature, as well as campaign material from his successful and unsuccessful campaigns for state governor and U.S. Senator. The papers were processed in 2007 and will be open for research Jan. 3, 2037.

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