Coffee with a Candidate: Keith Amemiya, Candidate for Honolulu Mayor

Coffee with a Candidate: Keith Amemiya, Candidate for Honolulu Mayor

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Keith Amemiya is a lawyer and the former Executive Director of the Hawaii High School Athletics Association.

He also served as the Senior Vice-Presidents of Islands Holdings Inc., which is the parent company of Island Insurance and other local subsidiaries.

Here are some of the questions he took on in our interview:

  • What would you do as Mayor as Oahu faces one of the worst crises in over a hundred years?

We need to do what we can to reopen the economy. Obviously, the health and safety of everyone is first and foremost, especially our front-line workers and those in the visitor industry that are very public facing. But once we get those items squared away, we need to move as quickly as possible to bring visitors back. Tourism is a big component of our economy. Over 20 percent of our workforce is still unemployed, and I think there are ways to do it in consultation with our health care professionals to bring visitors back to our islands safely.

  • As a child what was it like to have a mother who struggled with mental illness? As Mayor, how would those experiences influence you?

It’s made me very aware of the issue, it makes me want to solve it obviously, it makes me more compassionate for people with mental illness. It also gave me the opportunity to be hanaied, or adopted, by my best friend’s family. That had a profound impact on me as well. I was taken in by a family that didn’t have to, and yet they showed me love, compassion, goodwill and the importance of giving back. Those experiences as a youth propelled me to where I am today.

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