Categorized | Elections, News

Mayors Kenoi, Carvalho endorse Hannemann


Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi and Kauai County Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. have endorsed Mufi Hannemann in his bid for the governor’s seat in September’s primary election.

The announcement was made Wednesday on the steps of Honolulu Hale, where the three described the success of their collaboration through the Hawaii Council of Mayors and the importance of greater cooperation between all levels of government to revitalize the economy, support agriculture, partner on education and social service issues, and address other challenges.

Kenoi said, “Mayor Mufi has been instrumental in bringing together the mayors as a team to focus on issues that affect each of our counties and the state. He has built a solid working relationship with leaders in each community and we look forward to continuing to work with him to move our counties and our state forward.”

Carvalho said, “We have a lot of positive momentum right now. The relationships we’ve built between the mayors and our staff with leaders around the state, the nation and the world, have been key to the successes we’ve experienced. Moving forward, I believe that collaboration will be critical to our continued success over the next four years.”

Hannemann said, “It’s incredibly gratifying to have the support of Mayors Kenoi and Carvalho, with whom I’ve worked side by side for nearly two years now. We’ve been through a lot together, whether it was lobbying for federal stimulus funding on Capitol Hill, promoting tourism, negotiating labor pacts, or presenting our case before the Legislature to retain the county share of hotel room tax revenues.”

“The spirit of collaboration that’s marked the relationship among mayors is what I want to take to the State Capitol. We — the mayors, legislators, and public officials across the state — must be working together to solve our problems and attain our goals. Billy and Bernard’s endorsements are a strong indication of their belief in what we have done, and will continue to do, together.”

Highlights of the mayors’ work together include:

* Tax Sharing: Honolulu identified and distributed nearly $8 million in mobile phone tax revenues to its sister counties – taxes that had been collected by the state government but not distributed to the counties. The distribution was the result of a Public Service Company Tax review conducted by Honolulu, which found that the city was not receiving any tax from a provider of wireless services.

* Legislation: The mayors lobbied the legislature for government liability statues, county representation on the Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund and Employees Retirement System, and other legislation, and shared their concerns regarding state support for the homeless, support for agriculture, and economic stimulus efforts.

* Transient Accommodations Tax: The mayors were united in opposing a proposal considered by legislators to take away the counties’ share of the hotel room tax revenues and succeeded in preserving the county allocation through vigorous, collective lobbying.

* USCM: Hawaii’s four mayors have been members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and lobbied together on Capitol Hill and at the White House for a share of federal stimulus funding, approval of the Travel Promotion Act, and support for the agenda of the USCM.

* Tourism: For first time, the mayors joined state and county tourism officials last summer for a special marketing campaign in Los Angeles to promote travel to Hawaii. They also traveled to Tokyo in October at the invitation of Marriott International to promote travel to Hawaii.

* Collective Bargaining: The mayors negotiated with leaders of the public sector labor unions, the HGEA and UPW, to resolve differences and finalize agreements for new two-year pacts after talks stalled.

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