HomeNative HawaiianRep. Kai Kahele Kicks off Campaign for Governor of Hawaii

Rep. Kai Kahele Kicks off Campaign for Governor of Hawaii

Freshman Congressman Kai Kahele announced his candidacy for governor of Hawaii Saturday, reports Civil Beat.

He could become just the second Native Hawaiian to be elected governor in the state, the first being John Waihee who served two terms beginning in 1986.

“I have one clear message for those who think they can buy our government, Hawaii is not for sale,” Kahele said, reported Hawaii News Now. “I’m running for governor because this election up until today is being owned and controlled by big money, lobbyists, cynics, special interest, and corporations, wealthy donors from the mainland who want the economic and political life of this state.”

Kahele has proven he can be aggressive in pursuit of higher office. Governor David Ige appointed him to fill the seat of his late father, Gil Kahele, in 2016. Voters re-elected him in 2018 and the following year, he announced he would challenge Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in a run for Congress.

Gabbard decided not to run after she ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for president.

“I was a little bit surprised about how aggressively he pitched himself as a populist, as an outsider, as someone who’s coming in to change the system,” said Political Analyst Colin Moore to Hawaii News Now. “I mean, can a former state legislator and sitting member of Congress really be an outsider?”

Kahele will face Lt. Gov. Josh Green and former first lady Vicky Cayetano in the August primary.

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