HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ben Cayetano officially announced his candidacy for Honolulu mayor today.
In a news conference, Cayetano spoke of his desire to end the Honolulu rail project as the motivation for coming out of retirement to run for Honolulu's top job.
"I believe that projects built by our city or state should be designed so they are consistent with our core values – our relationship to our environment, to each other and to the culture that binds us together as a people. The $5.3 billion rail project does not cut it." He went on to say, "This is not the legacy I want left to future generations. It is irresponsible for us to burden them with huge debt and a city whose beauty is scarred by a wall of concrete snaking along its waterfront, running over ancient burial sites. Our future generations deserve better."
Hawaii News Now's Keoki Kerr will have an in-depth interview with the former Governor tonight at 6 p.m.
The former Governor has been open about his disappointment with current mayor Peter Carlisle and how he's handled the Honolulu rail project.
Cayetano is part of a lawsuit aiming to stop rail.
Cayetano's entrance into the race will pit three experienced candidates against each other. Carlisle and Kirk Caldwell had an extremely tight race in 2010 during the special election.
Cayetano says he will soon unveil a plan to deal with the costs associated with upgrading and maintaining Honolulu's sewer and water system. He has formed an advisory committee comprised of former City cabinet members and administrators headed by Sam Callejo. Joining Callejo are Toy Arre, who served under Frank Fasi, and Ron Lim, a cabinet member in the Harris Administration.
Cayetano also introduced members of his campaign committee, including Rey Graulty, a former member of the State House and State Senate. Graulty also served under Governor Cayetano as Insurance Commissioner. Walter Heen, the former Chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, will also aid Cayetano during his mayoral campaign.
Also part of the committee is Charlyn Honda Masini, who recently worked as Supervising Producer during November's APEC Leaders Week TV production by Pacific Focus Inc. Masini also serves as the president of Al Masini Entertainment.
University of Hawaii Civil Engineering professor and two-time mayoral candidate Panos Prevedouros says he believes Cayetano is the man for the job.
"I am delighted that former state governor Ben Cayetano has entered the race for Honolulu mayor," Prevedouros said. "Now more than ever Honolulu needs an experienced, fiscally responsible and anti-boondoggle mayor. I wish him the best and I pledge my help and support."
Honolulu Star-Advertiser political columnist Richard Borreca says that though Cayetano has a history as a skilled campaigner, he may not be able to rely on the same support he has had in the past.
"A lot of those friends (that have supported his campaigns) are union members and people who support rail. It's going to be difficult for him," Borreca said "His biggest challenge…is finding the money to run this race."
Candidate for Honolulu Mayor, Kirk Caldwell released this statement on Cayetano's announcement:
Being Mayor means being hand on! And let's get something straight right up front, rail transit is an important issue in this election. However, this election is about so much more. It's about the buses that take people to and from their jobs everyday. the HandiVan service, bus passes, it's about protecting people and their property, filling pot holes and repaving their roads.
If you want a world traveler or a single issue candidate, I'm not your guy. I'll be a Mayor who understands the details, rolls up his sleeves, digs in, gets serious, brings people together, listens to ideas . . . and solves problems. That's how I did things when I was Mayor, that's how we'll get the job done ... everyday, hands on.
Statement from Cha Thompson, Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle's Campaign Manager::
Rail will not bankrupt the city. It's an investment in the next generation, offering commuters a quality of life choice in dealing with traffic misery. Mayor Peter Carlisle is committed to bringing fiscal discipline to the city. He will grow our economy by continued investments in sewer upgrades, road repairs and other infrastructure projects.