comscore Ige appoints Kaiali‘i Kahele to late father’s state Senate seat | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Ige appoints Kaiali‘i Kahele to late father’s state Senate seat

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / JAN. 27

    Kai Kahele, the son of the late Sen. Gilbert Kahele, addresses the Senate at a ceremony for his father on the Senate floor.

Gov. David Ige has appointed Kaialii Kahele — more often known as Kai — to his late father’s state senate seat representing Hilo.

Former Sen. Gil Kahele represented Senate District One when he died on Jan. 26, after suffering a series of heart attacks.

“Kai has extensive community support and is committed to completing the work of his father. He has a broad vision for the future of this district and for all of Hawaii Island that will serve his constituents well,” said Ige said in a news release today.

Kai Kahele, 41, is a major in the Hawaii Air National Guard, and is a combat veteran C-17 instructor pilot.

In 2005 he was awarded a National Defense Service Medal and a USAF Air Medal for combat missions flown in Afghanistan, and earlier this month he received the Guard Officer of the Year award at Hickam Air Force Base.

He is also a pilot with Hawaiian Airlines, and is a University of Hawaii at Hilo adjunct faculty member. In 2015, Kai Kahele was also a crew member on the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s canoe Hikianalia.

He lives in the Waiakea Uka neighborhood of Hilo.

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