News

Kahele Sworn In as Member of U.S. Congress

January 4, 2021, 7:39 AM HST
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U.S. Rep Kahele

U.S. Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele (HI-02) was sworn in Sunday as a member of the 117th Congress to become Hawaiʻi’s newest elected official in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Kahele is Hawaiʻi’s first member of Congress from Hawaiʻi Island. The Congressman’s flagship district office will be located in his hometown of Hilo. This is the first time that a Congressional Flagship District Office will be based on a neighbor island.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to have the privilege to represent Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Kahele said. “I am grateful to the people of Hawaiʻi for trusting me to be your voice in Washington. It has been a long road to get here, and many of you have been with us from the beginning. Thank you for standing by me and going the distance. For those of you whom I don’t know yet, I hope to gain your trust and confidence. As your representative, I will work across the aisle when possible, and I will fight for our kupuna and our keiki to ensure a better Hawaiʻi for all.”

Kahele’s staff is working to implement new opportunities for constituents to engage with his office by positioning congressional field representatives on the Big Island, Molokaʻi, Lanaʻi, Maui, Oʻahu and Kauaʻi.

“In Washington, I will practice the important values we hold dear, including integrity, honor, cooperation and aloha in all I do,” Kahele added. “I am ready to get to work to bring much needed federal resources to Hawaiʻi and will hit the ground running.

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Kahele thanked Congressman Ed Case and his staff for working closely with him as he prepared for his time in Washington.

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“I am deeply honored and pleased that Congressman Kai Kahele has now officially joined me in representing the home we love in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Case (HI-01) said. Congressman Kahele is as well prepared as any incoming member of Hawaii’s congressional delegation in our history to discharge the responsibilities we have undertaken, and I expect the very best of him for our country and Hawai’i.”

Kahele was nominated by the House Democratic Steering Committee last month to serve on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. This key committee oversees civil aviation, railroads, water transportation, transportation safety, transportation infrastructure, and transportation labor. Kahele is one of two Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) who will serve on the committee during the 117th Congress. Eight years have passed since the committee had representation from the AAPI community; the last time was in 2012 when then U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono served on the committee.

Kahele is the second Native Hawaiian since statehood to be elected to Congress; the first was the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka.

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