Maui Election

Council Member Mike Molina announces bid for Maui mayor

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Known for his public school teaching and Maui County Council tenure, Mike Molina announced Tuesday evening that he will leave his Makawao-Haʻikū-Pāʻia residency seat in a bid for mayor. 

The county will hold its nonpartisan mayoral election for the top two vote-getters in November following the August primaries that will include all candidates.  

Already Mayor Michael Victorino and recently retired 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen said they, too, will run, and rumors of additional mayoral candidates have surfaced. 

Molina in an announcement Tuesday night emphasized that he has a proven history of accessibility and fairness toward all constituents.  

“We need leadership that is responsive, accountable and willing to work towards unifying our community during these difficult times,” he said in a release. “Much of my legislative accomplishments were made possible by keeping an open and respectful exchange of ideas with the community.” 

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His priorities include housing, public safety, economic diversification, food security, tourism management and stewarding the environment, the release added. 

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Molina, who chairs the council’s Government Relations, Ethics and Transparency Committee, said his legislative accomplishments include authoring the affordable housing fund, the first-time homebuyers fund, the outdoor lighting bill and the plastic bag reduction bill. The Sierra Club recognized him for his Plastic Bag Reduction Legislation, the first in Hawaii. 

Molina first served in council from 2001-10. From 2011-17, he was executive assistant to former Mayor Alan Arakawa. In 2018, he was elected to council and handily won re-election in 2020. 

Aside from his council role, he currently works as a substitute teacher for the state Department of Education. Molina, who often encourages people to teach, was a DOE instructor from 1987 to 2000 and received recognition for teaching from Honolulu Star-Bulletin.  

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He also serves as board member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Maui Evangelical Church and the Kalama School Community Council. 

Born on Maui and raised in Makawao, Molina is a 1978 graduate of Maui High School. He graduated from the University of Hawaii at Hilo with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and education. 

Molina is a military veteran who served in the United States Air Force and Hawaii Air National Guard. He also has a history of community service, including recognition from Maui Volunteer Center and Upcountry Rotary Club. 

He is married to his wife of 30 years, Cielo Batan Molina. They have three children: Ian, Aimee and Malia, along with five grandchildren.  

For more information, visit www.votemikemolina.com or mikemolinamaui.net

Kehaulani Cerizo
Kehaulani Cerizo was born and raised on Maui and worked for nearly 15 years as a news reporter, copy editor and features editor at daily newspapers. She earned awards at The Maui News in Wailuku and at Today’s Local News in San Diego.
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