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Kahele Opens 2nd Congressional District Office in Hilo

By Tiffany DeMasters
May 1, 2021, 7:30 AM HST
* Updated May 1, 9:47 AM
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Newly elected Congressman Kaiali‘i Kahele made history as the first Hawai‘i congressional representative to relocate the 2nd District’s office from Honolulu to Hilo.

County and state leaders gathered on Friday, April 30, to celebrate the opening of the 2nd Congressional District Office on Aupuni Street with a traditional Hawaiian ceremony and blessing.

“To be standing here right now, to be looking at Maunakea and being surrounding by the seat of government of Hawai‘i County … it’s something very, very special,” Kahele told the crowd.

Early on in his candidacy, Kahele said that one of the first things he’d do if he was elected would be to make sure the 2nd Congressional District Office was actually in the 2nd Congressional District.

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“I’m so excited as a hometown Hilo boy to be able to do that and just bring that hometown pride to Hilo’s 2nd Congressional District,” Kahele said.

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Kahele expressed his appreciation and gratitude to his staff as well as those who helped make securing the office possible.

“This office is really the heart and soul of our office, and it’s going to help so many constituents and do so many great things for Hawai‘i Island and for the rest of the state in the 117th congress,” Kahele said.

Hawai‘i County Director of Communications Cyrus Johnasen spoke on behalf of Mayor Mitch Roth, as the mayor was unable to attend.

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“Congressman Kahele was a proven and fierce advocate for our county when he served in the Hawai‘i State Senate and we know he will continue to be a fierce advocate for our county and its values in Congress,” Johnasen said.

Stevie Li, state director for Kahele’s office, said the Hilo team moved into the office on Jan. 19, 2021, with modest furniture, and it was soon brought to life with the staffers and those who worked to make it the beautiful space it is now.

Congressman Ed Case. of Hawai‘i’s 1st Congressional District, was also present at the event.

“I’m so incredibly happy that Congressman Kahele is my full partner in the US House of Representatives,” Case said. “It is so critical for Hawai‘i in the US House of Representatives to not just have individually sound members of Congress but people that can work together and get things done.”

Case noted he doesn’t think there’s ever been a member of Congress who’s hit the ground running as fast as Kahele, adding the freshman congressman studied for months and worked to meet and talk with colleagues before taking office. As a result, Kahele was appointed to the House Armed Services Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

“Congressman Kahele is exactly the right person to represent Hawai‘i’s 2nd Congressional District for these times,” Case said. “This is a congressman who is not only very competent but he is liked, he is respected, he is admired. I’m incredibly eager to not only work with him but to see where this incredible trajectory goes.”

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.
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