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HONOLULU MAYOR

Duties: The Mayor is the chief executive of the City of Honolulu. The mayor has full control over the appointment and removal of administrators, is invested with absolute control over department heads, wields veto power over the Honolulu City Council, and has substantial control over the budget, totaling in excess of $1 billion. How Elected: At large by City voters. A Mayor must be a qualified voter of the City and County of Honolulu and be at least 30 years of age.Term: Four years, limited to a maximum of two consecutive full terms.Base Salary (2020): $186,432

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    Keith AMEMIYA
    (NS)

  • Rick BLANGIARDI
    (NS)

Biographical Information

Please provide a brief Candidate Statement describing your qualifications and why you are running for this office.

What are your top two goals and how will you achieve them if elected?

What do you think about the state of women in Hawaii's elected and appointed public offices? What have you done to support women in government? What will you do?

How would you address concerns about a lack of transparency at all levels of government?

Do you support automatically registering people to vote when they apply for a driver’s license or state identification card, provided they can voluntarily opt out of registering. (Senate Bill 2005 passed the senate and is currently in the Hawaii House Judiciary.)

What, if any, actions would you work towards in your first 100 days to address the threats facing Hawaii due to climate change?

Do you believe the response to the COVID-19 crisis could have been improved, and if so, how?

I was born and raised on Oʻahu and have lived here my entire life. Hawaiʻi is my home, and I want to keep it the special place that it is for many generations to come. When I headed the Hawaiʻi High School Athletic Association, I visited every community in the state and built relationships, particularly with working families. Our families deserve better. They deserve housing they can afford, a good job, and the ability to live beyond paycheck to paycheck.

I’m a first-time candidate, but I have extensive leadership experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. My top priorities are helping to lead our economic and health recovery, ensuring safe and affordable housing for all Oʻahu residents, and addressing homelessness.
1. Leading our recovery around economic, physical, and environmental health. 2. Taking action to seriously address homelessness through increasing housing and mental health services. We need to focus on testing, contact tracing and treatment, and ensuring basic needs are met for all. We need to contain the spread of the virus and take care of our workers’ health and safety as we reopen. We need to rebuild a healthier version of tourism and to actually start diversifying our economy in renewable energy and agriculture. COVID-19 is the crisis of today, but climate change is the crisis of our lifetime. The City must immediately enact a climate action plan, protect our natural resources, and strengthen the connection between people and place.
I am committed to seeking out more leadership opportunities for women in my administration. I would continue the Mayor’s Committee on the Status of Women and increase collaboration with the committee for city issues and decisions.

Studies show that women that work still do more work at home than their counterparts. This means that flexibility is required, for it is often an employer’s unwillingness to make reasonable accommodations, and not the outside-of-work obligations themselves, that create barriers in the workplace. COVID-19 has shown us that we have the capacity to make more accommodations and grant more flexibility regarding job structure.
It’s important that people in positions of leadership and power in our city lead with integrity and character. If you look at my history and talk to those who know me, you’ll see that I’ve always tried to be an example of leading with integrity and character. I will surround myself with trustworthy people and hold them accountable.

Restoring public trust in government is one of the main reasons I want to create the Office of Community Engagement. This office will work with the community to increase citizen participation in city government, improve use of technology to provide more transparent communication and more meaningfully and proactively involve people in City processes.
Yes. With Hawaiʻi passing our all-mail election law last year, the next logical step is to pass automatic voter registration legislation (“AVR”), to ensure voting is as accessible to all members of our community. At least 19 states and the District of Columbia have AVR. States that have implemented AVR have not only seen increases in voter registrations, but AVR also keeps voter rolls more accurate through voters’ recurring contact with registration agencies. During a time when many states are passing restrictive voting laws, Hawaiʻi can take a stand for this fundamental right by enacting automatic voter registration.
Within my first 100 days, I am committed to enacting into ordinance the City’s first-ever comprehensive Climate Action Plan, developed by the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability, and Resiliency in partnership with our community. Decarbonization and climate adaptation will become one of the main pillars of my administration, and we will use investments in clean energy, energy efficiency, electrification of our bus fleets, and green infrastructure to transform our economy.

We will act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create green jobs, and stimulate and diversify our economy. We will accelerate our path to 100% renewable energy, and believe that a 2035 goal is eminently achievable.
Government at all levels was not ready for the fallout from an economic shutdown, such as access to food, housing costs, small business needs, unemployment, and clear communication.

Areas that could have worked better include:

1. Clearer, more consistent communication to the public, with coordination from all levels of government and business and community leaders.

2. Overall planning and coordination with the State for evidence-based and research-driven practices for community-wide screening and testing.

3. Access and information to ensure that people’s basic needs are met, such as food and housing. Government needed to move quicker to establish community-based food distribution programs.
I am running for Mayor because I firmly believe Honolulu faces unprecedented challenges that will define the character and quality of life for our residents and businesses for generations to come. Now is the time for strong, decisive leadership by a Mayor who will bring the best and brightest local minds to solve Oahu’s problems. As a former coach and businessman in the broadcast industry with 43 years experience running highly complex organizations in tough situations and economies, I know how to inspire teamwork, empower others and bring out the highest performance from every person, all in service to our larger goals. If elected, I will bring my lifetime of leadership experience - and my love for Hawaii - to serve you as your Mayor.
The two goals are related and it is the Mayor's job, as CEO of the City, to lead and manage people, money and resources to get the job done: 1) Prioritize the health, safety and well-being of our island residents, from keiki to kupuna, with a particular focus on the most marginalized among us, including the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) community, the houseless and the elderly; 2) Restore and revitalize our island's economy, with a focus on sustainable tourism, diversification of our economy, green and resilient infrastructure to address climate change/sea-level rise, affordable housing/workforce housing, retraining and retooling programs and more federal, state and county resources for our residents and businesses.
As a matter of personal principle, I have always supported and encouraged women, including my coworkers, of whom over 50% were women at Hawaii News Now (HNN), to never hold back in achieving their goals in both the public and private sectors. In fact, my successor at HNN is a woman, hired and selected by me. As for the public sector, while more women are running for elected office, we must continue to break down the barriers to gender equality in government. Gender equality in public office is critical since decision making bodies create the rules that affect people’s rights, behaviors and lifestyles. If elected Mayor, I will empower and encourage women to participate more fully in the public sector, including in my administration.
I would address the concerns about a lack of transparency at all levels of government by validating the concerns. We can and must do better. Transparency and accountability in government go hand-in-hand and transparency in government does not mean just making information available when people ask for it, it means making information and data (including meaningful metrics) available as a matter of routine practice in government. The recent lack of transparency in government as it relates to our response to COVID-19 is completely unacceptable. Transparency informs the electorate, promotes accountability and good, fair decision-making. My administration will be grounded in transparency, accountability and fairness in government.
Yes, voter registration should not be onerous or complicated. As long as individuals can affirmatively opt out of registering, I am in full support of streamlining the way people can register to vote.
As a member of the Oahu Resilience Strategy Steering Committee in the City and County of Honolulu, I am committed to addressing the threats facing Hawaii due to climate change/sea-level rise. One of my first priorities, as Mayor, will be to make sure the FY22 city budget (operating and capital improvement) aligns with our city's commitment to green and resilient infrastructure and economic revitalization. I am hopeful the federal government will come through with an infrastructure stimulus program later this year or early next year that will present the city with an economic opportunity to jump start projects addressing climate change/sea-level rise while creating more jobs and stimulating our economy. I am committed to solutions.
Yes, I always think there is room for improvement in government at all levels and that includes our response to COVID-19. One of my goals, as Mayor, will be to constantly learn and grow. No-one and no administration is perfect and the ability to self-assess as one responds to issues and challenges is critical. In the case of COVID-19, respectfully, I would personally like to have seen more information available to the public (transparency), clearer rules and guidelines, more collaboration between federal, state and county government, increased implementation of CDC-recommended best practices (contact tracing, testing), better communication and better resource allocation to our most distressed communities (CARES Act funds).