Hannemann for the House?

Ikaika M Hussey

Honolulu’s former mayor announced his candidacy today for Hawaii’s second congressional seat.

From his blog:

Mufi Hannemann today announced he will seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives from the 2nd Congressional District next year.

Hannemann said, “Now, more than ever, our nation and state need to put people back to work and revitalize our economy.  Public officials at the federal, state, and local levels are beset by debt crises and partisan conflict over the direction of fiscal policy.  We can agree that the best way to deal with our fiscal woes is economic growth, but there seems to be very little sustained effort directed at stimulating job growth.

“We, as Americans, must work together as one nation, one people, to restore confidence in our ability to give hope to working people and to address the needs of our seniors and children.  I believe I offer the proven leadership and experience, fresh ideas and creative solutions, and track record of bringing people together in the spirit of bipartisanship, that will enable me to serve effectively as Hawai‘i’s representative in Congress.

“This decision to reenter the public arena did not come quickly or easily.  I enjoy my responsibilities as president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Hotel & Lodging Association as we work to strengthen our most important industry.  At the same time, during my travels throughout the Hawaiian Islands, people have been urging me to ‘get back in the game’ and ‘return to public office.’

“This grassroots support has been strong on the Neighbor Islands, where I spent a portion of my business and government career, and where I have built and maintained many cherished friendships over the years.  As someone who’s traveled from Kaʻū to Kapa‘a, from Kaunakakai to Kāneʻohe, from Lāʻie to Lānaʻi, and from Wailuku to Waiʻanae, and listened to the counsel and concerns of friends and strangers alike, I’ve decided that I can best contribute to the future of our islands and make a difference in the lives of our people and nation, by seeking to serve in Congress.

“Just as important as putting people to work is preserving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, providing more federal funding for education, and protecting our environment, goals that can be better addressed with a strong economy.  Those in Congress who seek to slash help for seniors, the needy, and our children, instead of offering incentives and ideas for economic growth, do a disservice to the institution and their fellow citizens.  For Hawai‘i in particular, we must ensure a strong defense, champion the aspirations of the Hawaiian people, and bring the Pacific region to the forefront of American foreign policy.

“Americans need leaders in Congress who will give focus and direction to our national priorities, cooperate with stakeholders, and resolve differences for the greater good of our people.  And I pledge to work with state and county leaders to ensure that Hawai‘i’s needs continue to be met at the federal level.

“I stand ready to serve the people of Hawai‘i by devoting all my energy, experience, and resolve to the work before Congress and to ensuring our future is one filled with promise and opportunity.”

Hannemann is president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Hotel & Lodging Association, the state’s largest private trade organization of hotels and tourism-related businesses.  He is the former mayor of the City and County of Honolulu.  He served six years on the Honolulu City Council, including as its chairman, and was director of the Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism and Office of International Relations.  Hannemann was also an executive with C. Brewer and Company, at one time Hawai‘i’s largest agri-business.  He holds leadership positions with many non-profit boards and organizations.