Four Honolulu City Council members representing much of Central, Windward and East Oahu today endorsed Keith Amemiya for mayor.
Honolulu City Council Chair Ikaika Anderson and City Councilmembers Joey Manahan, Brandon Elefante and Tommy Waters announced their endorsement of Amemiya for mayor via a Zoom conference this morning.
Amemiya, 54, is running for Honolulu mayor against former television executive Rick Blangiardi, 74.
“I’ve asked myself, who knows Honolulu and its people and I feel unequivocally, that’s Keith Amemiya,” said Anderson, who represents Windward Oahu. “He is a community builder. He’s also a consensus builder who can bring people together from the backyard painas of Waimanalo to the board rooms of Honolulu. Keith Amemiya knows the people of this city, he can work with them and I believe he’s comfortable with all of them in any setting. And he’s best able to bring people together across all walks of life.”
Waters, who represents East Honolulu, said he has known Amemiya for 30 years and went to law school with him.
“One can only serve the community if they know the needs of the community,” he said. “Keith has been there with our residents and is already working with them to come up with creative solutions.”
The councilmembers said they believed Amemiya’s leadership style was more fitting for the mayor’s office than his opponent, and they supported his collaborative approach.
Anderson said, from his observations, Amemiya is more of a consensus builder.
“If our opponent the CEO thinks he’s going to come into Honolulu Hale and whip the bureaucrats into shape, he has another thing coming to him,” he said. “Strong arm tactics sound good on television but they don’t work in reality. Keith, on the other hand, will approach the job of Mayor the same way he does everything: with humility, integrity, and purpose.”
With unprecedented challenges facing Oahu, such as the pandemic and a faltering economy, the councilmembers said Amemiya has clear plans to contain the virus and to get people back to work.
Elefante, who represents Aiea, Pearl City, and Waipahu, said: “The middle-class families in the district that I represent will immediately understand where Keith is coming from. His empathy for people and his understanding of everyday quality of life issues will be at the heart of his actions and decisions.”
Councilmember Joey Manahan, who represents Kalihi and Salt Lake, said his district has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the most vulnerable communities need special attention.
“We need a compassionate leader like Keith who’s approachable, who’ll listen to people, and who will act in our best interest,” he said. “Keith will ensure there is equity in every government response and in our city services, so the needs of our most vulnerable communities are met. Keith has a plan of action to lead Honolulu not just out of this pandemic, but in a new direction that will ensure our safety and prosperity.”
The councilmembers’ endorsement joins that of councilwoman and former mayoral candidate Kym Pine, who endorsed Amemiya for mayor earlier this month, along with several unions and organizations.
Amemiya said he was humbled to receive the endorsement and thanked them for the support.
Earlier today, Operating Engineers Local 3, a union representing Hawaii’s skilled trades, announced its endorsement of Blangiardi.
Blangiardi’s campaign issued a statement in response to the councilmembers’ endorsement of Amemiya.
“The mayor’s relationship with the legislative body of the city should be built on fair and equitable collaboration,” the campaign said. “As mayor, Mr. Blangiardi seeks to work with all council members, and to ensure public confidence is embedded in trust and not politics. Mr. Blangiardi’s current efforts with council members is to work with them on understanding the challenges and issues of their constituents. He has been meeting with several council members, including Ann Kobayashi and Heidi Tsuneyoshi, and councilwoman-elect Andria Tupola, to discuss the important priorities in their communities. Mr. Blangiardi only seeks their support to work together on making the City and County of Honolulu a better place for the people, who need it now more than ever.”