Hannemann chooses veteran as running mate

Mufi Hannemann officially filed for the 2014 gubernatorial race today, and announced decorated military veteran Les Chang as running mate.

Will Caron

The following is a press release sent out by the Hannemann campaign after today’s announcement:

Honolulu, Hawaii - Mufi Hannemann announced that his running mate for the 2014 gubernatorial race will be Windward Oahu resident and decorated Air Force Veteran Les Chang. They will run together as candidates of the newly formed Hawaii Independent Party (HIP).

Both Hannemann and Chang officially filed their nomination papers at the State of Hawaii, Office of Elections in Pearl City at 1:30 today, kicking off the team’s campaign for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii.

Les Chang is a distinguished graduate of the University of Hawaii AFROTC program where he earned a BA in Education. He went on to an outstanding career serving his country for 30 years with major responsibilities for enhancing the quality of life for military members and their families throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

His last military assignment prior to retirement as an Air Force Colonel was being in charge of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) Pacific Region with 8,000 employees and $1.1 B annually in revenues. When he left, Chang was recognized for leading the largest positive turnaround in employee morale and customer satisfaction in AAFES world-wide.

The Lt. Governor candidate’s military awards and decorations include: Defense Superior Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, with 4 bronze oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

He joined the City and County of Honolulu as the Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation with the Hannemann administration from 2004 to 2010. He developed a laser-like focus on the make-over, repair and maintenance of city parks. Under Chang’s leadership, the City’s nearly 300 parks and gardens were transformed to be open and accessible to all users young and old and their ohana.

“Les and his wife Sharon love our nation and have a deep affinity for Hawaii which is why he returned to the land of his birth. He has a track record as a capable, caring and experienced leader, who totally immerses himself in the service of his community,” said Hannemann. “I’m honored that he has stepped up and answered the call to run with me.

“He is exactly the kind of hard-working professional that is needed to fix state government. For example, I envision him playing a prominent role on issues dealing with PACOM and the military, our second largest industry and the veterans in our State, and lending his ideas to enhance State parks and programs centered on the youth and elderly.”

Hannemann has vowed to return to the collaborative management style, often focusing on going back to the basics, that he and other directors like Les Chang brought to the City and County of Honolulu.

“The Hannemann administration made things happen and got a lot of things done for the people,” said Chang. “We all benefited from an exceptionally well-managed city for the Mayor’s six years at City Hall.”

Hannemann has embraced the spirit of the Hawaii Independent Party, and adopted a theme of “Think Independently…Come Home To The Middle.”

“Our objective is to serve the people—not make decisions for them based on any one political ideology or without their input,” said Hannemann. “The will of the people must be respected and they want government to function efficiently, and put the needs of the people first, and that is exactly what we are going to do with co-leaders like Les Chang.”