VIDEO: Trio of Maui Mayors Endorse Hannemann

May 21, 2012, 7:04 PM HST · Updated May 22, 10:51 AM
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Trio of Maui Mayors endorse Mufi Hannemann for Congress. From left: Charmaine Tavares, Mufi Hannemann, Alan Arakawa, Kimo Apana, and Hannemann's honorary co-chair Gladys Baisa. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

A trio of Maui mayors, past and present, joined hands today in endorsing congressional candidate and former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann for Hawaii’s 2nd District.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa joined former mayors Charmaine Tavares and James “Kimo” Apana in making the endorsement announcement at the Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu.

Hannemann (D) is seeking the seat being vacated by US Representative Mazie Hirono, who is running for US Senator Daniel Akaka’s seat in 2012.

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“It’s a pleasure to support Mufi, whom I’ve known for many years, because I greatly respect him as a public servant and civic-minded citizen who has devoted so much of his life to the betterment of Hawaii,” said Mayor Arakawa in a statement.

“There’s no better candidate to represent the County of Maui in Congress than Mufi, who brings executive experience as a mayor who has balanced a budget, worked closely with the private sector to stimulate the economy and knows first-hand the kind of federal support we need at the local level,” said Arakawa, who said Hannemann’s Mufi’s record and experience would translate to effectiveness in Washington, DC.

Former mayor Charmaine Tavares joined in the announcement saying she enjoyed working with Hannemann when they served together on the Hawaii Council of Mayors.

“He brought a collaborative approach to our decision-making, helped forge excellent relationships with the Legislature and US Conference of Mayors, and involved our county team in effective private sector partnerships with the visitor industry,” said Tavares.

Tavares said the state would benefit from Hannemann’s “island-style touch” in building relationships with diverse constituencies.

Fellow former Maui Mayor, Kimo Apana praised Hannemann for his commitment to “core principles and values of working class people.”

“He’ll preserve Social Security, Medicare, and other benefits that are so vital to our seniors, as well as bring improvements to education,” said Apana.

Hannemann, meantime, responded to the endorsement saying, “I’m deeply gratified by this expression of support from Alan, Charmaine, and Kimo, each of whom I’ve known and worked with at various times over the years. As mayors, they know what it takes to be a leader, and they recognize the challenges inherent in public office and the responsibilities facing Hawaii’s Congressional delegation.”

“I’m very moved by their endorsement of my candidacy because it validates one of the themes of my campaign: that Hawaii needs an experienced, proven leader in Congress. I am indebted to them for their support,” said Hannemann.

Maui County Council Member Gladys Baisa, who is serving as an honorary co-chair of Hannemann’s campaign, served as the master of ceremonies for the event.

Other key contenders in the race for the 2nd Congressional District seat are Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard, and Esther Kiaaina, both democrats from Kapolei.

As of Thursday, May 17, two lesser-known candidates on O’ahu were the only ones who had actually filed papers for the race.  They are Republican candidate Matthew DiGeronimo of Honolulu and Democrat Miles Shiratori of Kaneohe. Today, Gabbard joined the list of official candidates as well, filing papers at the Office of Elections.

Others who have pulled papers so far include Patric Brock (L) of Kihei, David Crowley (R) of Hilo, Rafael Del Castillo (D) of Honolulu, Robert Marx (D) of Hilo, and Mark Terry (R) of Wahiawa.

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