Kai Kahele sworn in as second Native Hawaiian in Congress since statehood

Kai Kahele sworn in as second Native Hawaiian in Congress since statehood
Rep.-elect Kaiali'i Kahele, D-Hawaii, poses for a photo on the House floor before being sworn in on the opening day of the 117th Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. (Bill Clark/Pool via AP) (Source: Bill Clark)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (HawaiiNewsNow) - Congress convened for its 117th session on Sunday, swearing in lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele, of Hawaii.

In an interview with Hawaii News Now, Kahele said his first priority is to work with members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation on another federal stimulus bill, which will get much-needed funding to the people of Hawaii.

When asked about the division the country is facing right now ahead of the certification of election results this Wednesday, Kahele said it’s time the country gets past its differences and comes together.

“I do not believe there was widespread election altering that has happened and I believe that certifying the election honors the will of the 81 million Americans who voted for President-elect Joe Biden and I intend to do that on Wednesday,” he said.

Kahele, who’s the second Native Hawaiian to serve in Congress since statehood, said he brought a Bible, belonging to the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, with him to the swearing-in ceremony.

“It was incredibly emotional and was just beaming with pride and I’m sure Senator Akaka, with my dad, so many others that have come before us, were just looking down and smiling,” Kahele said.

Kahele takes over for Tulsi Gabbard, who on Sunday tweeted a photo of herself playing the ukulele in front of the Mokulua Islands, with a caption that said, “Aloha,” to mark the occasion.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Ed Case took his fifth oath of office in Washington, D.C.

He said, “never have I felt such a deep sense of obligation to our country to discharge my duties under our Constitution.”

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