Standing in front of dozens of supporters outside Honolulu Hale, many of them City and County employees, Kirk Caldwell made it official Wednesday: He’s running for another four years as mayor.
He said that Oahu faced serious challenges four years ago when he was first elected, and that challenges remain. But Caldwell said he believed his administration had tackled the most pressing of them.
The mayor, with wife Donna Tanoue at his side, then ticked of the list: roads, buses, sewers, parks, homelessness.
“I love sewers!” he said, underscoring his commitment to “infrastructure, infrastructure and more infrastructure.”
Mayor Kirk Caldwell stands with supporters on the front lawn of Honolulu Hale after turning in documents Wednesday to run for another term.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
And rail? Caldwell acknowledged that he promised four years ago that he would “build rail better.” He said there was plenty of blame to go around for problems with the $6.6 billion project, one marked by cost overruns and delays. He said he accepts part of that blame.
He said rail would not be cheap, easy or without additional problems, but he promised more transparency, better bookkeeping and work to build trust. He expressed confidence in people such as Colleen Hanabusa, Colbert Matsumoto and Mike Formby running the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.
The mayor also identified a few “bests” and “firsts”: He said mayor of Honolulu was the best public service job in America, that Honolulu had the most diverse population in the world, that his administration had paved more roads than any other in state history and that the rail line would have the first driverless cars in the U.S.
Caldwell also promised that he would not run for another office two years into a second term, saying he could not do a good job if he was thinking of his next job.
Caldwell hugs a supporter on the lawn fronting Honolulu Hale after filing papers to run for another term.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
“I want to keep this job,” he said.
On a related note, the mayor held another campaign fundraiser Tuesday night, this one at the Waialae Country Club. He said he drew the largest turnout of his many fundraisers, and that he had about $1.6 million — “maybe less” — in cash on hand.
Standing off to the side at the mayor’s announcement was Caldwell’s only declared challenger, Tim Garry, who wore a blue T-shirt that read “Keep the Town Town.” He said he planned to spend very little money on his race.
The deadline to file for Hawaii elections is June 7. City Council Chair Ernie Martin has pulled papers to run, but has not filed them.
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