HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – It's official. Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann is running for governor. The announcement came just after 4:30 PM Thursday from Fern Elementary School in Kalihi where the mayor attended school. The mayor was introduced by his kindergarten teacher, Barbara Leong.
Many wondered what took Hannemann so long to make the announcement.
"It was a very personal decision. I had to look inside and see if it was time. I've always wanted to be in public service. Everything in life is timing. I went on a listening tour, put together an exploratory committee and it's been overwhelming" said Hannemann.
In his speech he talked about his vision as governor. He said he would revamp the educational system and emphasized the importance of having a homegrown leader. In his speech, Hannemann stressed community and uniting the people in Hawaii, but he said the current administration has taken the state in the wrong direction.
"We are leaderless at this point, the economy is in the tank, the educational system has become an embarrassment, and I am willing to take the executive leadership style that I've demonstrated of bringing people together... and that's what we need right now."
Although the mayor will not immediately step down, the announcement triggers a series of political dominoes, as Hannemann is only two years into a four-year term. He has not yet filed the paperwork to run for office. He is expected to officially leave office July 20, the last day that he can step down and qualify to run for governor.
The mayor said the campaigning will begin immediately. His campaign advertising will hit the airwaves very soon.
Hannemann will join fellow Democrat Neil Abercrombie and Republican Duke Aiona as the top candidates in the governor's race.
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