If you’ve relied on our election coverage this season, please consider making a tax-deductible gift to support our newsroom. From our current housing crisis to the failure to adequately address homelessness, and the fear of rising crime, Keith believes the same old style of politics doesn’t work. Inbox overcrowded? Amemiya named his son after Chris. “In order for developers to agree to a project, you sometimes need to allocate a portion of the project to the open market.”. The city should also be more aggressive in getting federal funds into the pockets of the people, Amemiya said. “, I think he’s made efforts to present himself as the outsider, which is patently absurd.”, He also secured endorsements from several unions including the state’s largest, the. In 2009, Amemiya resigned as vice chairman of the Honolulu Police Commission after the Honolulu Ethics Commission launched a conflict of interest investigation. The HHSAA’s revenue during Amemiya’s tenure was under $2 million – a small fraction of the city’s nearly $3 billion operating budget. The first order of business for the next mayor will be addressing the ongoing pandemic and the financial crisis it has caused. The challenges and generosity of thousands of families cemented Keith’s commitment to public service. Don’t miss anything. State lawmakers passed the bill, which is awaiting a decision by Ige. Once a state agency, HHSAA became a nonprofit in 1996 and needed a leader who could tap into funds in the private sector. Amemiya had accepted a $25,000 donation from the police union for an HHSAA fundraiser. “And that’s why I’m running.”. As the head of high school sports, Keith took on the problems that people before him were too afraid to touch—issues of equality among the big and small schools, between public and private schools, and the treatment of girls and boys sports. Stay Up To Date On The Coronavirus And Other Hawaii Issues. In early 2010, Amemiya left HHSAA to join the UH Board of Regents where he worked until 2012. The project was launched as a workforce housing complex, meaning 75% of the units had to be sold to people making 140% of the area median income or below. Making Honolulu the greatest city will happen by everyone coming together, working hard, and focusing on our goal. And for years, Keith Amemiya has been a … Don’t miss anything. oversaw programs covering 95 public and private high schools statewide and 33,000 student athletes, he said. Amemiya and his wife donated a $20,000 scoreboard to Roosevelt High School in 2006. Our mission is to engage and educate the community on important public issues through in-depth reporting, explanatory and investigative journalism, analysis and commentary. And for years, he’s worked closely with wealthy businessmen Colbert Matsumoto and Duane Kurisu. Most notably, after the 2008 financial crash, he led a fundraising campaign that brought in more than $1.5 million to support athletic programs that otherwise were on the chopping block. We need to restore trust in government.”. Colbert Matsumoto is the chairman of Tradewind Capital Group and former chairman of Island Insurance Co. Amemiya said he oversaw operations, sat on the boards of Atlas and Pacxa, gave legal advice and brought in new clients. “I feel that people who have the power to affect change should do so, and we need to do what we can to make life better for them,” he said. “It’s clear we need to constantly remain vigilant,” he said. as a senior vice president at Island Holdings, the parent company of Island Insurance, Atlas Insurance Agency, IC International, Pacxa, and Tradewind Capital Group. Making Honolulu the greatest city will happen by everyone coming together, working hard, and focusing on our goal. Amemiya said he “was getting shuttled from relative to relative” and later moved in with the family of his best friend, Chris Kobayashi. Since 2007, he has donated $63,400 to local and state political campaigns, according to state data. To this day, Amemiya considers Bert T. Kobayashi Jr., Chris’s father and a prominent local attorney, to be his hanai father. Communities rallied together whenever one of their own was in need. Christina Jedra is a watchdog reporter covering the City and County of Honolulu for Civil Beat. “You’re under tremendous pressure. My dad has proven, time and time again, that what sets him apart is not just That’s why,  Amemiya said, he is committed to having the city itself build more public housing. Keith’s grandparents worked in the pineapple fields of Wahiawā. Property tax increases would be “a very last resort” for both residences and hotels, he said. Candidate Q&A: Honolulu Mayor — Keith Amemiya It required working closely with schools, the county government, the  Legislature and the governor’s office to obtain funding and advocate for program and policy changes. In his 12 years at the helm, Amemiya implemented division classifications and established state championships for girls sports. “We need to do whatever we can to ensure that today’s families have the same opportunity to live, work, play and raise a family like many of us have been fortunate to do.”. To head off a wave of homelessness related to the current economic crisis, Amemiya said the city needs to work with the state and federal government as well as nonprofits. And the market rate units ended up in the hands of the developers’ friends. Instead, he has faith that no matter the outcome, something positive will come. The families who had the least were also the ones who gave the most. During the 2009 state budget shortfall that brought “Furlough Fridays” for schools and threatened to end all junior varsity sports at public high schools, Keith spearheaded the “Save Our Sports” Campaign. And it seems they are using those connections to get him elected mayor by supporting his campaign. This election will decide whether Oʻahu will be a place that our future generations can call home. Amemiya said he bought a market rate unit and still owns it. Amemiya is the son of former state Attorney General Ron Amemiya; and the cousin of Honolulu City Managing Director Roy Amemiya, Jr. Reading his website, “About Keith,” one would never know that Amemiya … You're officially signed up for our daily newsletter, the Morning Beat. When I think about my dad, I think about hard work, attention to detail, and emphasis on the community. and other prominent business leaders. The first-time candidate, who earned widespread praise when he led Hawaii high school sports, is running for Honolulu mayor on a message of change. Ultimately, Amemiya said he wants to change Honolulu so that working families don’t have to move to the mainland to have a decent life. “I’m not keen on the idea of shoving the homeless from place to place and then they end up in the original spot,” Amemiya said. Keith Amemiya served Oʻahu as a business executive, nonprofit leader, and lawyer over the last 30 years. When faced with an issue, my dad doesn’t look to himself to get all the answers, but rather reaches out to others to see what they bring to the table and how they can get involved. In 2015, that would’ve been about $97,000 for a two-person household, according to the, ended up in the hands of the developers’ friends. By building relationships, rallying the community, and raising over $1.5 million through a public-private grassroots effort, Keith helped keep high school athletic programs afloat through his quick actions. You can reach her by email at, Sorry. His Housing For All plan includes: Asked about his past work on housing issues, Amemiya pointed to Tradewind Capital’s involvement in the development of 801 South Street in Kakaako. Much of his support is at the grassroots level, he said, with many people from his high school athletics days supporting his run. He also supports House Bill 285, which makes public the names and details of police misconduct cases. When Keith was young, his mom’s mental health began to decline and his parents eventually divorced. Kalei received a scholarship to UH, playing volleyball and basketball, and returned back to her home community of Molokaʻi as a teacher and coach in Molokaʻi public schools. Make a contribution to our campaign today. Amemiya is the only top-tier candidate with a written plan to fill the 22,000-unit housing need on Oahu. They’re experienced in running for different offices every election cycle. Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of profiles of the leading Honolulu mayoral candidates. State lawmakers passed the bill, which is awaiting a decision by Ige. “There is no one to his left,” Moore said. Keith Amemiya has been close to politics for a long time. But through it all, our small team of reporters made sure you didn’t forget about electoral politics. The project highlights the reality of developing affordable housing, Amemiya said. The minimumum donation amount is $5.00. He’s the son of former Hawaii Attorney General Ronald Amemiya and the cousin of Roy Amemiya, Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s managing director. He hopes to make the city government more efficient with technology. VIDEO: The Job Interview — Honolulu Mayoral Candidate Keith Amemiya In his 12 years at the helm, Amemiya implemented division classifications and established state championships for girls sports. • Rick Blangiardi: This Former TV Exec Wants To Be CEO Of Honolulu. And that’s why Keith is running for mayor. When neighbor island kids couldn’t have the same opportunities on their home islands, he took in one Molokaʻi student, Kalei Adolpho, into his home so she could train in a program offered on Oʻahu. She is the chief financial officer at aio, a group of companies founded by, Amemiya is the only top-tier candidate with a written plan to fill the, Aggressive enforcement on short-term vacation rentals, Investments in infrastructure to facilitate affordable development, Hiring more staff at the Department of Planning and Permitting to cut through backlogs, Waiving sewer, park and other fees for affordable projects, Rezoning land within the urban core to allow more density there and “keep the country country”, Asked about his past work on housing issues, Amemiya pointed to Tradewind Capital’s involvement in the development of 801 South Street in Kakaako. He’s the son of former Hawaii Attorney General Ronald Amemiya and the cousin of Roy Amemiya, Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s managing director. The project was criticized though after owners who bought units for cheap resold them at a profit a short time after their purchase. Covering the pandemic has taken a lot of our collective energy. It would be funded with existing resources in the mayor’s office, he said. Amemiya says he is the fresh face city hall needs. In the nonpartisan race, Amemiya is the only candidate who has advertised that he is a Democrat. And for years, he’s worked closely with wealthy businessmen Colbert Matsumoto and Duane Kurisu. He has also supported influential legislative leaders, including House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke and Senate Ways and Means Chair Donovan Dela Cruz. As mayor, Amemiya said he would like to boost citizen participation in government. Its current assessed value is about $580,000, according to county records. As for the more than 4,400 people who are already homeless on Oahu, he said the city should be focusing on creating more shelter space and making available more mental health and addiction services. Other connected people got units too, including Roy Amemiya’s son; Matsumoto; John Waihee IV, the son of the former governor who’s also an Office of Hawaiian Affairs elected board member; Gary Kurokawa, the mayor’s chief of staff; and Tracy Kubota, then deputy director of the Department of Enterprise Services. “Developing high rise condominiums is financially risky,” he said. It’s not easy for a humble person like Keith to talk about his accomplishments and it’s also not easy for At his campaign kickoff, Amemiya talked about his mother’s mental illness. There, Keith became like any other member of the family—doing chores on the weekends, taking a summer job at Dole Cannery, playing sports after school, and going to Punahou thanks to the generosity of his hānai family. But communities should not be left to fend for themselves. In our family, no matter how bleak an outlook may be, he is never the one to bring up doubts.

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