Kaialiʻi Kahele was sworn in as a U.S. representative Sunday in Washington, becoming only the second Native Hawaiian to serve in Congress.
Rep. Kahele tweeted that for his swearing-in ceremony, he used the Bible of the first Native Hawaiian congressman, the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka.
Kahele replaces Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who decided not to run for reelection last year to focus on her unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for president. He represents the neighbor islands and rural Oahu, and will serve alongside Rep. Ed Case.
Kahele said in a news release Sunday that his district office will be located in his hometown of Hilo, the first time that a congressional flagship district office will be based on a neighbor island. He said he also would have congressional field representatives on the islands of Hawaii, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, Oahu and Kauai.
He thanked his supporters and Case, and said, “For those of you whom I don’t know yet, I hope to gain your trust and confidence. As your representative, I will work across the aisle when possible, and I will fight for our kupuna and our keiki to ensure a better Hawaii for all.”
“In Washington, I will practice the important values we hold dear, including integrity, honor, cooperation and aloha in all I do,” Kahele said. “I am ready to get to work to bring much needed federal resources to Hawaii and will hit the ground running.”
Case welcomed Kahele to Washington, saying in the news release, “Congressman Kahele is as well prepared as any incoming member of Hawaii’s congressional delegation in our history to discharge the responsibilities we have undertaken, and I expect the very best of him for our country and Hawaii.”
Kahele will serve on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which oversees civil aviation, railroads, water transportation, transportation safety, transportation infrastructure, and transportation labor.
With the bible of Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka in hand, I am headed to the floor of the peopleʻs House to be sworn in as Hawaii’s next member of Congress. pic.twitter.com/96A8VSVF6N
— Kai Kahele (@kaikahele) January 3, 2021