Former Governor Cayetano Will Run for Honolulu Mayor in 2012

Former Hawaii Governor Ben Cayetano casts a long shadow.
Ben Cayetano casts a long shadow.
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Former Hawaii Governor Ben Cayetano casts a long shadow.
Ben Cayetano casts a long shadow.

BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – Former Gov. Benjamin Cayetano will run for Honolulu mayor in 2012.

Cayetano, a Democrat, will formerly announce his plans to run in the non-partisan city election at a press conference on Thursday. Today he told Hawaii Reporter he is in the process of securing his headquarters and finalizing his campaign team.


In what is expected to be an expensive and contentious race, Cayetano will take on Mayor Peter Carlisle and former City Managing Director Kirk Caldwell.

Carlisle, the former city prosecutor, won a special election in 2010 to replace then Mayor Mufi Hannemann. Caldwell was Hannemann’s managing director, and will run again for the mayoral seat after losing to Carlisle in 2010.

With 28 years in Hawaii government, in the state House, Senate, lieutenant governor and governor’s office, Cayetano left local politics in 2002 and worked on authoring his autobiography, which became a local best seller.

He wasn’t looking to get back into politics – in fact he told Hawaii Reporter he was hoping someone else would step forward – but he made the decision to run for mayor because he believes he can save Honolulu from ruin.

He is referring to Carlisle’s plan, which Caldwell supports, to build a $5.3 billion 20-mile heavy elevated steel wheel on steel rail system from Kapolei to Honolulu.

Cayetano, a long time outspoken critic of the project and is one of seven plaintiffs in a controversial federal lawsuit aiming to stop the construction.

The lawsuit, filed by Cayetano, founder Cliff Slater, retired Judge Walter Heen, University of Hawaii Law Professor Randal Roth, Small Business Hawaii Entrepreneurial Education Foundation, Dr. Michael Uechi and Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, claims the city administration and federal government did not consider more environmentally friend and cost effective traffic solutions before selecting heavy rail as the best choice.

Cayetano maintains there are other maintenance projects that need to be completed to keep Oahu’s infrastructure from dilapidating further, such as sewer and water main upgrades, and road repairs.

In opposing the project, Cayetano is taking on Hawaii’s all Democratic Congressional delegation, many establishment politicians and private construction unions.

The public is sharply divided over the rail project, which continues to escalate in price and will be an imposing structure along Honolulu’s waterfront and historic districts.

But through the lawsuit, Cayetano has the support of several prominent community groups, including The Outdoor Circle, The League of Women Voters, Small Business Hawaii , and Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, which are all opposing the project. The majority of Oahu’s Republicans are also opposed to rail and expected to vote for Cayetano for that reason.’s Cliff Slater said: “It would be astonishing to have a Mayor who was blunt, frank, honest, and up front about what he was doing. After the last 20-odd years, it would take some getting used to.”





  1. So happy I hope he Runs!!!
    He has many challenges that still exist, as do the opportunities for growth and service delivery. We must not forget to be responsive, rather than reactionary and offensive to those that pursue with purpose within this regard, the services needed from our gatekeepers in transportation. We must recognize, our people with disabilities and our elderly are currently unable to receive the transportation services we require.

    Our gate keepers in transportation refuse to allow us the transportation we need for our safety simply because they are not medically trained in the appropriate areas of medicine (HandiVan) and continue to act to defray costs instead of providing opportunities for the elderly and disabled to reach out and network out of the home.

    Our City and County has already failed the the elderly and disabled (the most vulnerable and dedicated of taxpayers,) when denying the elderly and the disabled the transportation we need in Paratransit because the HandiVan does all it can to negate applicants and deny us needed services!

    Why, with the numbers of elderly and people with disabilities?

    We see it in the 2012 —-Section 5310 Apportionment Monies for Paratransit. Why is it so low? We received $377,272.00. We have one of the highest and rapidly aging State populations in the Nation. Our HandiVan management has been bought and is purposefully dumbing down the numbers and negating ridership at this time, to make it seem as though our transportation dollars will go far just so we can get rail funding! Our dollars will not go far!!! The transportation board obviously never included statistics from the Office on Aging and what it would take to provide transportation in the form of Paratransit!!!! Guess the costs of both Paratransit and school transit are going to send a C&C budget thru the roof!

    Wanna know what other States received?

    Just for elderly and disabled transportation now-Pennsylvania($2,940,812), Alabama($1,172,407.00), Georgia($1,684,436.00) Wow what a peach of information and many others received millions!

    All to transport people with disabilities and the elderly. The HandiVan is full of employees without medical licensure, gauging people with disabilities and purposefully denying people with documented disabilities that need HandiVan ridership now! Simply to give the impression there exists no other transportation needs for the City and County budgetary dollars. This is crazy! The City and County never did all of its homework and full research when including aging and those projections!!! DUH!!! They just decided to get an expensive toy!

  2. Hee, Hee…Ben C’s running for Mayor fills Coconut Willee and me with jollity. Not only is he brainy, but he speaks clear, plain English–not mumbo jumbo jargon like the other conventional political types. Mark Twain wrote of a politician’s accident which caused the tip of his tongue to be cut off. And after that he could speak only one syllable words/ That made him so easy to understand that he was elected every time!

  3. He’ll get my vote, as long as he stops rail.

    Honolulu Rail= Overpriced Development Scam

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