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Flags to Fly Half-Staff in Memory of Former Kauaʻi State Legislator

February 3, 2022, 5:01 PM HST
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U.S. and state flags throughout Hawaiʻi will fly at half-staff Friday, Feb. 4, to pay respect to a former Kauaʻi statesman.

Former state Rep. Ezra Kanoho died last week. He was 94 years old.

Gov. David Ige ordered flags be flown at half-staff at all state offices and agencies, as well as the Hawai‘i National Guard, from sunrise to sunset on Friday.

“Rep. Ezra Kanoho, known to us as ‘Uncle Ezra,’ had impeccable style and grace. He is a man that I will always look up to and admire,” said Kauaʻi County Mayor Derek Kawakami. “I grew up in the neighborhood where he lived and was one of the pesky kids playing ball next door. No matter how many times we ran into his yard unannounced, he greeted us with a smile to let us know we were welcome. When I became a public servant many years later, he would greet me with that same humble smile. Over the years, Uncle Ezra grew to become one of the most notable leaders that Kaua‘i will ever know. He had a way of making everyone he knew feel important and loved. Uncle Ezra has more accomplishments than most of us realize, but his greatest legacy was his kindness, gentleness and humility. His physical presence will be deeply missed, but his spirit will live on in those whose lives he touched, and he will continue to impact our island and community for generations to come.”

Kanoho served in the state Legislature for 18 years. During his time there, he was a key member for the Committee on Finance; chairman of the Committee on Water, Land Use and Hawaiian Affairs; Committee on Judiciary; Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce; Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection; and a member of the Hawaiian Caucus.

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Before his time in politics, Kanoho worked at the Hawaiian Telephone Company, serving in various capacities, including island manager and safety director.

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He was also deeply invested in the community, serving on the Mayor’s Task Force for Substance Abuse, the Board of Directors for United Way of Kauaʻi and Alu Like, as well as serving as president of the Kauaʻi Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Kauaʻi.

“When I think of aloha, there are certain unique individuals that come to mind. Ezra is definitely one of them,” said U.S. Congressman Kai Kahele, who represents the Second Congressional District in Hawaiʻi. “He will be remembered for his humility, compassion and leadership by the many lives he touched throughout Hawaiʻi, in particular on the island of Kauaʻi, where he called home. Ezra made people feel heard and had the ability to build bridges between seemingly opposing views that may have never found mutual understanding. Throughout his more than 20 year tenure as a state representative, Ezra followed a strong moral compass and made the people his priority. Maria and I extend our heartfelt condolences to his ‘ohana, including sons Solomon, Reuben, Paul and Ezra. We are grateful for his contributions to Hawaiʻi and our communities. He will be missed.”

Kanoho was born in Līhuʻe, where he attended Kamehameha Schools. He also attended Kauaʻi Community College and Honolulu Community College, where he earned an associate degree in science.

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