Gov. Dean Endorses Kahele for Congress

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Gov. Howard Dean, former Chair of the Democratic National Committee, endorsed Senator Kai Kahele on Wednesday in his bid for Congress.

Dean stated he strongly supported the Hilo man’s run for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s seat. Gabbard announced about a week ago that she plans not to run for re-election as she plans to focus on her bid to US President.

“Kai has an exemplary record of leadership as a combat veteran and lieutenant colonel in the Hawai’i Air National Guard. More importantly, as a husband and working father of three young daughters, he carries the values shared by millions of working class families across the country. He is exactly the type of person we need serving in the U.S. House of Representatives,” the governor stated. “I am a proud supporter of Kai and look forward to the good work he will do in Washington.”

Kahele expressed his gratitude in response to Dean’s endorsement.


“I am humbled to receive Governor Dean’s support of me in my run for Congress, and am grateful for his sincere vote of confidence in my leadership abilities. If I am elected, I will work hard to make sure that Hawaiʻi’s 2nd congressional district is truly represented every single day.”

Dr. Howard Dean served as the Governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003, was a candidate for the democratic nomination for President in 2004, and then was elected Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from 2005-2009 where he implemented the DNC’s fifty-state strategy. His 2004 campaign modernized how Presidential campaigns utilized online fundraising and organizing strategies at the grassroots level.

Kahele serves as Majority Floor Leader and Chairman of the Committee on Water and Land in the Hawaiʻi State Senate where he represents his hometown of Hilo. He is an 18-year combat veteran aviator who was recently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Hawaiʻi Air National Guard.


Former Hawaiʻi Governors John Waiheʻe, Ben Cayetano and Neil Abercrombie serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Kahele for Congress Campaign Committee. Honolulu City Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson formally endorsed Kahele’s candidacy. The Kahele for Congress campaign has raised over half a million dollars since January 21, 2019.

The 2nd Congressional District encompasses Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Kahoʻolawe, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kaua’i, Niʻihau and the rural parts of Oʻahu, including Waimānalo, Kailua, Kāneʻohe, the North Shore, and the Leeward coast.

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