Categorized | Elections, News

Hannemann officially running for governor

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Contributing Editor

Surrounded by more than 250 supporters and his family Thursday, May 27, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann officially announced his intention to run for governor.

Mufi Hannemann

He made the announcement on the grounds of Fern Elementary School, Hannemann’s alma mater, in Kalihi where he was born and raised.

On his website, Hannemann pointed out he already has a number of key endorsements, including the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 142 (ILWU); State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers (SHOPO); Sheet Metal Workers Local 293; International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District 50; Drywall Tapers Finishers Local 1944; and Operating Engineers Local 3.

Hanneman, who was swore in Jan. 2, 2005 as Honolulu mayor, spoke on the timing of the announcement.

“I learned a long time ago that, if you put first things first, everything else will take care of itself,” he said. “As mayor of Honolulu, that has meant taking care of the people’s business. To that end, I believe I have done just that – to the best of my ability and with every ounce of my energy. My intention is to provide for a smooth transition of power to the City Manager and avoid a costly special election, which we cannot afford.”

Hannemann will work as mayor until the July 20 filing deadline, when he said he will formally file to enter the race for governor.

He said he was motivated partly out of respect for his immigrant parents who struggled to raise a family in Kalihi and of the dreams they had for their six children. And he spoke of his teachers at Fern Elementary School who, like his parents, saw the future of Hawaii in their young students.

“In our eyes, they saw tomorrow,” Hannemann said.“That’s why I am running … because in all of our eyes, I can see tomorrow. My vision for the future of Hawaii isn’t out there in some neatly packaged campaign slogan. It’s right here, in all of us, in our hopes and dreams for our children and our grandchildren, just as they were for our parents and grandparents.”

He said that, if elected, his tenure would be one of inclusion and he would call on everyone in Hawaii to help him fulfill those dreams.

“We must feel we are part of the solution, as well as beneficiaries of the process,” Hannemann said. “A good leader will bring us to that conclusion and the fulfillment of our dreams. I believe I can be that leader … for tomorrow … and for all of Hawaii.”

Hannemann also laid out his priorities for Hawaii if elected:

* Send children back to school: Public education will be a priority and there will be no furlough Fridays;
* Put people back to work: Major public works projects, including the Honolulu Rail Project, will be green-lighted, creating jobs and reinvigorating the economy;
* Make state government work: Within the first 90 days, Hannemann will identify and begin eliminating waste and abuse in government operations;
* Honor home rule: In a Hannemann administration, the model used to create the Hawaii Council of Mayors will be expanded so that the governor and four mayors can work collaboratively, with the mayors empowered as chief executives of their respective counties;
* Champion Hawaii’s natural environment: This includes reducing dependence on fossil fuels and protecting lands devoted to agriculture, recreation and cultural practices.

From Abercrombie:

Fellow Democrat Neil Abercrombie’s campaign manager Bill Kaneko issued this statement:

“Neil is hearing a very clear message all across the islands: The people are tired of the same, typical political maneuvering, where politicians take precedence over the issues.

“What the Honolulu mayor’s announcement really means is that his campaign war chest will be turned on, smothering your televisions, radios, and newspapers with political messages.

“For over a year Neil has been listening and learning from the people of Hawaii. He has always been clear and consistent about his intentions — running for Governor is the culmination of Neil’s lifetime of public service experience. He is committed to a full term as Governor and he will not run for anything else.

“Over the same period, Mayor Mufi Hannemann has been gathering campaign contributions and holding “Go Mufi Gov” rallies–telling campaign donors that he’s running and the rest of you that he’s just exploring.

Hannemann and Abercrombie are considered the top Democrats heading toward the September primary race. The two previously faced each other in 1986, in a special Congressional election to replace the late Cecil Heftel, who had resigned to run for governor.

From Aiona:

Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, considered the leading Republican gubernatorial candidate, issued the following statement regarding Hannemann’s announcement:

“I look forward to putting my support for Hawaii’s working families and small businesses against his record of raising taxes and increasing the cost of living for our residents on Oahu. Hawaii can’t afford him. I’m running for governor to ensure balance, integrity and accountability in state government while reducing the financial burden on our working families and small businesses, creating jobs and investing in the quality of our education system so all of Hawaii’s children have a brighter future.”

Background on Hannemann

Muliufi Francis “Mufi” Hannemann was born in Honolulu in 1954. He attended public elementary school in Kalihi before earning a scholarship to attend Iolani School.

He graduated with honors and received a full scholarship to attend Harvard University where he was elected freshman class president and lettered in varsity basketball. Following his graduation in 1976, he studied abroad as a Fulbright Scholar at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.

Hannemann’s career in public service began at the state level where he served as special assistant to Gov. George Ariyoshi and later as director of the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism and Office of International Relations under Governor John Waihee.

Hannemann was first elected to public office in 1995, serving on the City Council and as its chairman. Hannemann is the current Mayor of Honolulu and the first of Samoan descent to ever hold the office.

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