Former Big Island Mayor Harry Kim to run for another term

Published: Mar. 3, 2016 at 10:52 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 4, 2016 at 5:02 AM HST
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Harry Kim (Image: Hawaii News Now / File)
Harry Kim (Image: Hawaii News Now / File)
Colin Moore (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Colin Moore (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Image: Hawaii News Now / File
Image: Hawaii News Now / File

HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Former Big Island Mayor Harry Kim says he wants his old job back.

Kim plans to pull papers for the office on Tuesday.

Kim is well-respected on Hawaii Island, where he's something of an icon.

He served as the Big Island's mayor from 2000 to 2008, and was also the county's longtime civil defense director.

"I promise to do everything right by law," he said. "And where there are now laws, a sense of what is right."

The former mayor didn't directly mention current mayor Billy Kenoi, who is now embroiled in a spending scandal. Kenoi has served two consecutive terms and cannot run for the office. But Kim said he's running on a platform of trust.

"Sadly, the trust in government is something that's really questionable today, and that's what people kept talking to me about," he said.

"He's running on this 'restoring trust in government' platform," said Hawaii News Now political analyst Colin Moore. "I think that's what people want to see after some of the scandals that came out of the Kenoi administration."

Kim actually gave Kenoi a strong challenge in the mayor's race four years ago, when Kenoi's political star was still rising.

Kim joins several other candidates in the mayor's race, but with two terms already under his belt and decades with the county's civil defense, political analysts said he's got the biggest name recognition.

"I think he has a great chance of winning," said Moore. "He barely lost to Billy Kenoi last time, only by about 14-hundred  votes. He's the most well-known candidate in the pack. I think he's likely to win."

Kim said the decision to run was a difficult one and was months in the making. He knows the job requires a lot of time and energy. But even at age 76, he's confident he's up to the job.

"I had to make sure of everything, including physical examinations, the works," said Kim. "And I think, without any hesitation, this is probably the best my body has been in 30 years."

Kim also plans to follow a practice from his previous campaigns. He won't accept campaign donations larger than $10.

The deadline to file as a candidate is June 7.

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