HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Rick Blangiardi, the former general manager at Hawaii News Now, announced his candidacy for Honolulu mayor Wednesday.
Blangiardi made the announcement Wednesday at Old Stadium Park in front of dozens of supporters including prominent business leaders, former Governor Linda Lingle and former First Lady Vicky Cayetano.
“We’re all painfully aware of the big issues facing our island home and families: The high cost of living and a lack of affordable housing, the over-budget and behind schedule rail project, the complex issue of homelessness, the growing concerns over neighborhood crime.
“You have my word that I will be a strong, decisive mayor who listens to all sides of an issue. But I’ll also be a mayor who makes firm decisions.”
He added that his campaign will tour communities around the island to hear from residents about the biggest issues they’re grappling with.
Blangiardi has championed solving homelessness, supported the Thirty Meter Telescope and has been critical of rail. He says the project should be finished at Ala Moana. His top issues are more resources for public safety, infrastructure and kupuna, but said details for how to pay for it would come later.
“Making tough decisions is not popular. I promise the people of today that I’m prepared to make tough decisions, but first I want to be informed," he said.
Blangiardi is entering an already-competitive 2020 race for mayor.
City Councilwoman Kymberly Pine, business executive Keith Amemiya and former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have already launched mayoral campaigns.
HNN political analyst Colin Moore said Oahu voters are dissatisfied with government and may be hungry for an outsider candidate.
“I think he’s going to be a competitive candidate," Moore said, adding that Amemiya also brings a strong business background.
“Both of them are going to say we’re not the usually politicians.”