Sen. Kai Kahele Announces Candidacy for Hawaiʻi’s 2nd Congressional District

February 2, 2019, 11:19 AM HST · Updated February 2, 11:19 AM
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State Sen. Kai Kahele announced that he is running for the 2nd Congressional seat in the 2020 election last Monday. Kahele is a combat pilot, a Major in the Hawaiʻi Air National Guard, a commercial pilot for Hawaiian Airlines, and a state senator representing Hilo.

The senator announced his candidacy surrounded by his supporters, friends, and family at the historic Moʻoheau Bandstand in downtown Hilo. Hawaiʻiʻs Democratic party has rallied at that location every election in the past 64 years. During the announcement, the senator paid tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. in recognition of the holiday.

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired generations with the simple idea that one person can make a difference, one person can change the world,” Kahele said.  

The senator also mentioned that he found his father, Sen. Gil Kahele, collapsed at home on Martin Luther King Jr. day three years ago. Sen. Gil Kahele died nine days later. Through his grief, Kahele felt a call to public service and decided to follow in his father’s footsteps.

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“Our family needed leadership. Our community needed leadership. There was work left undone and a legacy to carry on inspired by his dream,” Kahele said. “The dream of this gentle Hawaiian man from Miloilʻi, to build a better Hawaiʻi for all of us.”

Kahele said during his time serving in the state senate, he has met with countless residents to get their feedback. One of their main concerns was the future of Hawaiʻi’s children.

“When I think of them, I think of my own daughters and your children and the Hawaiʻi of the future they will grow up in,” Kahele said.  “And like every parent, we all want more for our children than we had for ourselves. We want the brightest future for them.”

In order to achieve this future, Kahele said Hawaiʻi needs dedicated leadership and teamwork.

“In Dr. Kingʻs now famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech he talked about what he called, ‘The Fierce Urgency of Now.’ That there is such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency, the time is now for vigorous and positive action,” Kahele said.

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