Tommy Waters will lead the Honolulu City Council as its chairman when a new lineup meets for the first time on Jan. 2, under a resolution made public today.
Councilwoman-elect Esther Kiaaina will be the vice chairwoman under the leadership proposal that’s expected to win the support of a majority of the new nine-member Council.
Councilwoman-elect Andria Tupola will serve as floor leader of the Council, which for the first time will be comprised of a majority of women.
In another first for the Council, a majority of five new councilmembers will be taking their seats for the first time, replacing five others.
The leadership team is listed in Resolution 20-322, introduced this morning by Councilman Brandon Elefante who, along with new members Radiant Cordero and Calvin Say, are expected to hold key roles under Waters’ team.
The other three Council members are Heidi Tsuneyoshi, Carol Fukunaga and freshman Augie Tulba.
Tsuneyoshi was believed to be seeking to become chairman and Tulba said publicly he would support her.
“I’m very humbled to serve should a majority of my colleagues support me,” Waters said in a statement. “It is incumbent upon the incoming Council to take urgent action to address the needs of the citizens of the City and County of Honolulu. From navigating the challenges we’re facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing affordable housing for residents and revitalizing and diversifying our economy, it is clear that we all need to work together in a constructive, cohesive manner so that our communities can thrive.”
Outgoing Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi has chaired the Council in recent months following former Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson’s resignation in September.
Waters, who represents Council District 4 (Hawaii Kai to Ala Moana), was first elected to the Council in a special election in April 2019 when he defeated then-incumbent Councilman Trevor Ozawa.
Waters’ 1,004-vote victory capped an extended election period that was precipitated by the Hawaii Supreme Court’s decision in January 2019 to invalidate the November 2018 general election results for the seat, which the Office of Elections’s results showed Ozawa winning by 22 votes.