comscore Kirk Caldwell

Kirk Caldwell

Honolulu Star-Advertiser logo
Unlimited access to premium stories for as low as $12.95 /mo.
Get It Now

Full Name: Kirk Caldwell

Name on Ballot: Kirk Caldwell

Age: 63

District: City and County of Honolulu

Email Address:

Current Job: Mayor, City and County of Honolulu

Place of birth: Waipahu

Campaign website:

Job history past 10 years:

Mayor, City and County of Honolulu (January 2013 – present)

Attorney, Ashford & Wriston (2011-2012, 1984-2008)

Acting Mayor, City and County of Honolulu (July-October 2010)

Managing Director, City and County of Honolulu (January 2009-July 2010)

Member, state House of Representatives, District 24 Manoa (2003- 2008)

Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?

Hawaii House of Representatives, District 24: elected in 2002, 2004, 2006

Mayor, City and County of Honolulu: 2010, elected in 2012

Other civic experience or community service?

Served on many boards and commissions over the past 30 years

Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?

Born in Waipahu, grew up in Hilo, son of a plantation doctor. Graduated from Tufts University (BA), Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (MA); UH Richardson School of Law (JD). Married to Donna Tanoue, vice chairwoman, Bank of Hawaii; one daughter, recently graduated from college.

What makes you qualified to be mayor?

My administration has proven its ability to respond to the many concerns of our residents, maintain a high level of services while trying to improve core services. We’ve made steady progress toward solving these concerns. No other candidate demonstrates this level of experience with running a large city government.

What is your one big idea?

Establish a Resiliency Office. The Rockefeller Foundation selected Honolulu as one of the 100 Most Resilient Cities in the World and is providing us with a resiliency officer who is tasked with addressing the effects of climate change and sea level rise on our island environment, including technological solutions.

What steps should elected city officials take next regarding the rail project?

I am committed to finding funding for the remaining 4.3-mile rail line (Middle Street to Ala Moana) by working with all stakeholders. Further, I intend to improve the governance of the HART administration, strengthen the powers of the HART board, impose greater oversight of costs and improve transparency.

Why has the city not been able to take more homeless off the street and what would you do to improve the situation?

Moving homeless into shelter takes effort by city, state, federal and community organizations all working together – the responsibility does not fall only on the city. Honolulu has made steady progress with our Housing First approach. Nearly 1,000 homeless have been placed in housing with hundreds more placements expected next year.

What steps can elected officials take to ensure city employees behave ethically?

When I selected my administration, I asked them to confirm commitment to these core values: integrity, honesty, transparency, “no silos” and respect. When issues arise that compromise those values, my departments are charged with investigating, documenting, and taking appropriate action, in consultation with Ethics Commission, Corporation Counsel and Human Resources.

As an elected city official, what would you do to improve the city’s affordable housing supply?

My affordable housing strategy balances set aside requirements with a mix of financial incentives (fee waivers, tax credits etc.), development incentives (zoning, increased density, code waivers) and funding for private developers to build affordable workforce housing. My ADU ordinance and fee waivers encourage homeowners to add a small rental unit.

Comment (1)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up