CANDIDATE SPOTLIGHT: Mufi Hannemann – Governor
By Maui Now Staff
Mufi Hannemann is a candidate for the office of Governor in the State of Hawaiʻi. Hannemann is the only Independent candidate vying for the seat, and among a total of 12 individuals identified as candidates in the race on the 2014 ballot.
The complete list of candidates (in alphabetical order) includes: Neil Abercrombie (D); Due Aiona (R); Charles “Trump” Collins (R); Jeff Davis (L); Misty Davis (N); Khis DeJean Caldwell (N); Stuart Todd Gregory (R); Mufi Hannemann (I); David Yutaka Ige (D); Richard Morse (N); Joseph R Spatola (N); and Van K “Tanaban” Tanabe (D).
Name on Ballot: Mufi Hannemann
Date and location of birth: July 11954 – Honolulu, Hawaiʻi
Current Residence: ʻAiea, Hawaiʻi
Occupation: Principal, MFH Enterprises- professional consulting firm
Elected offices held, if any: Elected to two terms on the Honolulu City Council. Served Council Chair; elected to two terms as Honolulu Mayor.
Education: Honors graduate – ʻIolani School & Harvard University; Fulbright Scholar – Victoria University (Wellington, New Zealand)
- Present- Founder and Chairman of Pacific Century Fellows, a leadership development program patterned after the White House Fellows program for mid- career professionals with 14 classes under its belt. Fellows range in age from mid 20’s to early 40’s, are from all professions and come from all over Hawaii. A Mariana’s Chapter of the Pacific Century Fellows was formed this year with Fellows chosen from the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas and Guam.
- Present- Over the last 20 years, I have personally funded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to high schools all over the state. These are the Mufi Hannemann Scholar-Athlete Awards and the Gustav and Faiaso Hannemann Leadership Awards. For nearly 40 years, I have personally awarded Harvard Book Awards to dozens of high schools throughout the state
- Present- Founder and Organizer of a state-wide women’s basketball jamboree and Team Aloha which gives Hawaiʻi’s young women opportunities for college athletic scholarships.
- Past – Board of Governors Iolani School, Chairman of American Diabetes Charity Walk and Board member -ADA, President and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association’s Statewide Charity Walks and Pro Bowl Host Committee Chair.
Family status: Married to Gail Mukaihata Hannemann
Governor Candidate Questionnaire:
1. What is the number one issue facing Hawaiʻi? Why do you feel it warrants special attention and what do you plan to do to resolve this issue? If you have more than one item, please elaborate.
Answer: Growing Hawaiʻi’s economy is the number one issue because our overarching goal is to improve our quality of life. Economic growth is essential since the high cost of living makes it difficult for our talented young people to stay in Hawaii to raise their families and own a home. The high cost of doing business makes it difficult for small businesses to grow and prosper and we continue to be plagued with a reputation that the state is a difficult place to conduct business. Our tax system will be thoroughly reviewed for fairness, equity and efficient processing.
Our economic action agenda calls for strengthening the state’s number one industry by providing solid leadership in making Hawaii a great place to vacation, do business, invest and to learn. We will initiate an innovative job creation agenda that will lead to a greater diversity of quality employment. We will support workforce development initiatives to better prepare our citizens for employment by looking to help the state’s educational system and all of our UH institutions of higher learning, including the East West Center, reach their full potential as top notch centers of excellence.
To further stimulate economic growth in Hawaii, I will provide collaborative leadership with the county mayors through a Hawaii Council of Leaders that I am proposing based on the Hawaii Council of Mayors model that I formed when I was Honolulu’s mayor. That’s one of the reasons why Mayor Arakawa has endorsed me for governor since he looks forward to working together to streamline government, increase efficiencies and work jointly on projects. If the state prospers, the counties will benefit. If the counties are strengthened, the state will grow economically.
One issue that will receive particular attention is examining the possibility of reviving an inter-island ferry system through a community-based planning process by committing to conducting an environmental impact study; something that was conspicuously missing from the last ferry effort by the previous state administration. There is no doubt that if the people want this to happen, it will provide a huge economic boost to businesses, farmers and of course, provide another affordable option for families to travel between the islands.
2. What are your thoughts on the state’s tax structure—is it equitable and fair? What are some other options outside of taxes that you would support for revenue generation?
Answer: A knowledge industry based around the technology of sustainable energy and environmental management not only will provide a missing link for our local economy, but also a golden opportunity for us economically. The key is to more fully integrate the engineering expertise of the University of Hawaii with private-sector product development and marketing expertise so that we can attract substantial venture capital funding.
These types of high-growth, clustered industries have been built successfully in other markets, but require the political will to incentivize and orchestrate the effort. Hawaiʻi is the ideal place to develop, test and market innovation in the areas of alternative energy, energy conservation and environmental management. We should provide our best and brightest with an opportunity to work in these lucrative careers without having to move to the mainland to pursue them.
We need a governor highly skilled in collaborative leadership who can communicate a solid vision to both the public and private sectors, as well as the academic world. This will get us all on the same game plan. And given the United State’s interest lately in the Pacific Asian region, it is only natural that Hawaii’s governor seize opportunities to take these ideas and initiatives to the marketplace of the most dynamic economic region in the world. I believe based on my executive experience and strong marketing background that I have the ability and skills to present the strongest case regarding Hawaiʻi’s potential as a leader in energy.
***Candidate spotlight segments were compiled as a public service to further educate and inform Maui voters about the upcoming primary election on August 9, 2014, and the general election on November 4, 2014. The questionnaires were distributed via mail following the primary election candidate filing deadline for select races affecting Maui County. The responses do not reflect the opinion or position of Maui Now or Pacific Media Group.