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The Ed Case Papers


About Ed Case (1952- )

Ed Case


Edward (“Ed”) Espenett Case was born in Hilo, Island of Hawaii, Territory of Hawaii, 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 Hawaii. He is a cousin of Steve Case, the founder of America Online.

He graduated from the Hawaii 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 Rep., later Sen., 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 Hawaii.

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.

Before his Congressional terms, Case was elected four times to serve eight years in the House of Representatives of the Hawaii State Legislature (1994-2002). He was elected to the Manoa 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 Hawaii managing partner for two years (1992-1994). He clerked for Hawaii’s Chief Justice, William Richardson (1981-1982) and for the Hawaii Dept. of Labor (1979). He began his political career as a legislative assistant to Hawaii’s U.S. Representative, later Senator, Spark M. Matsunaga (1975-1978).

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

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