Kahoohalahala announces mayoral bid; field for Maui’s top job grows

April 19, 2010, 5:49 PM HST · Updated April 19, 6:13 PM
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By Wendy Osher

Lanai Councilman Sol Kahoohalahala is the latest contender to express interest in the Mayor’s race.  He made the announcement of his intent to run before a small gathering of kupuna on Maui on Sunday.

Sol Kahoohalahala. File Photo by Wendy Osher.

Kahoohalahala currently serves as Chair of the council’s Planning Committee and vice-chair of the council’s committee on Economic Development, Agriculture and Recreation.

His political work began as a council member representing Lanai from 1995-1998.  He then served as the District 13 Representative in the Hawaii State Legislature from 1999-2000 and 2003-2005.

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There are already eight people who have pulled papers for Maui Mayor including former Mayor Alan Arakawa, Valarie Aquino, Joseph Durante, Christopher Hart, Orion Kopelman, Peter Milbourn, Harold Miller, and Jonathan Olson.  Current Mayor Charmaine Tavares announced her re-election bid for a second term during a campaign fundraiser in December.  Only Orion Kopelman has filed papers for the post so far, taking the next step in committing to candidacy.

Since returning to his post in 2008 as the Lanai representative on the Maui County Council, Kahoohalahala’s term has been clouded by an ongoing residency challenge that alleges his actual residence is on Maui.  Kahoohalahala describes himself as a seventh generation Lanaian, but says his family lineage and ties to the island of Lanai date back 700 years.

While Kahoohalahala looks to the mayor’s post, others have already expressed interest in the Lanai seat he will leave vacant.  Contenders include former councilman Riki Hokama, who held the seat until his term expired in 2008, and Lanai resident Matthew Mano, who ran for the post last election year.

A press release issued by Kahoohalahala’s campaign stated, “Along with an ever-present bent toward technology and innovation, Sol brings a strong native Hawaiian sensibility to his platform of long-term, sustainable economic development.”

In addition to his work as the Executive Director of the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission from 2005-2008, Kahoohalahala also served on the Maui Burial Council in 1990 and the Cultural Resources Commission in 1992.

“One of Sol’s often used phrases: “I ka wā ma mua, I ka wā ma hope,” refers to utilizing the wisdom and experience gleaned from the past in order to be optimally prepared for the future,” the press release stated.

The announcement also highlighted Kahoohalahala’s support of local food production, renewable energy, and the preservation of natural resources.  The campaign also credited Kahoohalahala for efforts at government transparency in helping to establish live television coverage of county council, boards and commission meetings on Akaku: Maui Community Television.

Prior to his work in the political arena, Kahoohalahala as a young man, worked for the pineapple plantation on Lānai.  His wife Lynn is a Vice-Principal of Lāhainaluna High School and they have four children and three grandchildren.

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