Why I am Running for Mayor of Honolulu

Kirk Caldwell
article top

BT KIRK CALDWELL – Thank you for the tremendous amount of support you have shown me since I announced that I am running for Mayor of Honolulu in the upcoming election.  I am honored and humbled by the outpouring of support I have received over the past several weeks.

I wanted to take this opportunity to write to you and talk about how I got started in public service, why I believe in grass roots campaigns, and why I am running for Mayor of Honolulu.


My career in public service first began in 1978, when I worked in Washington D.C. for Senator Dan Inouye.  After returning home to Hawaii and receiving my law degree from the University of Hawaii, I had the opportunity to work as a law clerk for Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice William S. Richardson, or “C.J.” as he was fondly known.  Senator Inouye and C.J. both taught me the values and virtues of public service, and the importance of giving back to the community.

Working with Senator Inouye also taught me that grass roots campaigns are one of the best ways to connect with your community.  In my lifetime, I have worked on many grass roots campaigns, ranging from campaigns for re-election for Senators Inouye and Dan Akaka, to helping my colleagues in the Hawaii State Legislature with their campaigns, to my own campaigns when I served in the Hawaii State House of Representatives.  From my experiences, I have learned that campaigns are not about one person; they are about all the people involved with the campaign.  A true grass roots campaign is not about the candidate; it is about the candidate’s supporters.

When I was campaigning to represent the Manoa and University districts in the State House of Representatives, I wanted to make sure my candidacy was about the people that supported me and the people that I represented.  Each election year, I visited nearly every home in my community so that I could personally meet and talk with each of my constituents.  I wanted to enable my neighbors to become my friends.  I wanted them to be a part of my campaign.

Since January 2009, I have been working as the Managing Director for the City and County of Honolulu.  In that position, I have overseen the day-to-day operations of the city and the needs of nearly one million residents on Oahu.  At times, I have also served as the Acting Mayor of Honolulu, when Mayor Hannemann was out of the State.  When Mayor Hannemann resigns from his post next week to run for Governor, I will serve as your Acting Mayor until the special election to fill the remainder of his term is held.

Here I am, 32 years after I first worked for Senator Inouye, and I am running to be your next Mayor of Honolulu.  I am running for Mayor of Honolulu because I believe in the value of public service and the importance of bringing people together for the common goal of making a positive change for our community.  Together, I believe we can help Honolulu be one of the greatest cities on the world.