Maui Election

Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele makes official announcement of run for Hawaiʻi Governor

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Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele Announces Run for Governor. PC: Courtesy Team Kahele

Surrounded by supporters, friends, and ʻohana at the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island, US Congressman Kai Kahele made an official announcement that he has entered the 2022 race for Hawaiʻi governor.

In February he visited Maui and hinted at a run saying he was giving it serious thought.

  • Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele Announces Run for Governor. PC: Courtesy Team Kahele
  • Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele Announces Run for Governor. PC: Courtesy Team Kahele
  • Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele Announces Run for Governor. PC: Courtesy Team Kahele
  • Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele Announces Run for Governor. PC: Courtesy Team Kahele
  • Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele Announces Run for Governor. PC: Courtesy Team Kahele
  • Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele Announces Run for Governor. PC: Courtesy Team Kahele
  • Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele Announces Run for Governor. PC: Courtesy Team Kahele
  • Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele Announces Run for Governor. PC: Courtesy Team Kahele
  • Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele Announces Run for Governor. PC: Courtesy Team Kahele
  • Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele Announces Run for Governor. PC: Courtesy Team Kahele

“Kai’s resolve to serve Hawaiʻi’s people right here at home and provide responsive, decisive leadership at the highest level of our state government is exactly what Hawaiʻi needs right now,” said Gerald DeMello, Hilo resident and long-time government relations specialist in a post announcement press release.

Kahele’s message focused on campaign finance and election reform, with the slogan, “Hawaiʻi Is Not For Sale.” Kahele also announced that he will be participating in the state’s public funding program, and that the campaign will not be taking single donations greater than $100.

Kahele’s unveiled a 10-point plan for campaign and election reform which includes:

  • Supercharge Hawaiʻi’s policies for public funded campaigns
  • Lower campaign contribution limits
  • Cap campaign war chests
  • Prohibit corporate-to-candidate contributions
  • Prohibit union-to-candidate contributions
  • Prohibit and or regulate “bundling” of contributions
  • Term limits for statewide elected officials – eight years maximum
  • Term limit for Office of Governor – one six-year term
  • Ban fundraisers and contributions during the legislative session
  • Reform automatic voter registration
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Chad Cabral, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island said he was encouraged by the message. He said it ensures “that all of us everyday-working people who know what our ʻohana and keiki need to thrive here at home have the equitable access to our elected officials.” 

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In his announcement, Kahele also discussed the high cost of living saying, “$1.2 million dollars for a single-family home in Hawaiʻi is not sustainable.”

“Out of State investors, like the big out of state money pouring into this election, are driving up housing prices and hollowing out our middle class. More local people will be forced into renting rather than owning a home. More local people are leaving Hawaiʻi, reducing our tax base and taking with them, their culture, their values, and most importantly separating them from their ʻohana,” he said.

He vowed that his administration would be about “returning to our roots,” and fulfilling the
commitments that were made 63 years ago when Hawaiʻi became a state.

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Two Hawaiʻi’ unions – Ironworkers Local 625 and the Plasterers & Cement Masons, Local 630 – have confirmed their endorsement of Kahele’s campaign for governor.

Fellow Democrat, Lt. Gov. Josh Green has also filed for governor. Former First Lady Vicky Cayetano pulled papers according to the most recent candidate report dated May 6, 2022. Other Democrats that have filed are: Richard Kim of Mililani, and Clyde McClain Lewman of Honolulu. Republican candidates that have filed include: Gary Cordery of ʻAiea, Keline Kehau of Pearl City, Lynn Barry Mariano of Honolulu, BJ Penn of Hilo, and Walter Woods of Kahuku.

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