Honolulu City Council Chair Ikaika Anderson submitted his resignation to the city clerk on Wednesday.

The District 3 councilman, who has represented Waimanalo, Kailua and Kaneohe since 2009, was set to finish his last full month in office in December. He has served as the council chair since May 2019.

Honolulu City Council vice chair Ikaika Anderson.

Ikaika Anderson has represented windward Oahu since 2009.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

In his resignation letter, he cited family reasons for his departure, which will be effective after the Sept. 23 council meeting.

“My grandparents raised me. They’re both in their 80s, and my mom and my dad and I split time running errands for them as well as serving as drivers for them,” he said. “My grandparents stepped up to raise me when they were in their 40s … and although they’d never say it, I feel I owe this to them. I need to be there for them at this point in time as I transition back to the private sector.”

Anderson wouldn’t comment on what his professional plans are, other than saying he will help out with his grandparents’ floral business.

However, Anderson has filed an organizational report to potentially run for lieutenant governor in 2022. If he runs, he may face off with his current council colleagues, Joey Manahan and Ron Menor, both of whom are term-limited and filed paperwork with the Campaign Spending Commission indicating interest in the lieutenant governor’s job.

“I’m open to asking the community for another opportunity, provided my family is in a good place at that point in time,” he said. “But I fully respect and realize it’s not up to me whether I return to public service. It’s up to the community whether or not they’ll ever have me again.” 

In this resignation letter, Anderson thanked the people of Windward Oahu for allowing him to represent them, his family for their love and support, and his staff, who he called his ohana, for serving alongside him.

He also expressed appreciation to his late friend and predecessor Barbara Marshall, “for bringing me to Honolulu Hale with her team in 2003 and presenting me this amazing opportunity to serve the people of Honolulu.”

“It’s like leaving home,” he said.

Anderson said some of his biggest accomplishments on the council were helping to fend off property tax increases, protect Kailua and Waimanalo from commercial developments and thwart attempts to institute a trash pickup fee. Overall, he said he is most proud of treating others equally.

“That is what’s most important,” he said.

At a City Council meeting on Wednesday, Anderson recommended that his chief of staff and longtime friend, Andrew Malahoff, take over his council seat.

“I’ve known Andrew for 30 years, he has served in this office with me for 15 years, and I love Andrew. He is my brother,” Anderson said. “There is no one better who could finish the work of this office and then turn the keys over to my successor in January.”

The City Charter states that when a seat is vacated with less than a year left on the term, the remaining members shall elect a successor. If the council fails to fill the vacancy within 30 days “after its occurrence,” the mayor shall appoint a successor, the charter states.

The only qualification for a council member, according to the charter, is that they be “a duly qualified elector of the council district from which the person seeks to be elected or appointed.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Council Vice Chair Ann Kobayashi introduced a resolution appointing Malahoff.

“Andrew A. Malahoff is a longtime resident of Council District III, has served as a staff member in the Council District III office since 2005, and has served on Councilmember Anderson’s staff since the Councilmember first took office in 2009, serving most recently in the capacity of Chief of Staff,” the resolution states.

As for Anderson’s position as chair, the council will prepare an organizational resolution and elect a new chair, McCoy said.

Esther Kia‘aina and Greg Thielen are running on the November ballot to take over the District 3 council seat.

Kia‘aina is the executive director of the Pacific Basin Development Council and is calling for progressive solutions to homelessness and the lack of affordable housing. Thielen, who owns a construction business, is a fiscal conservative and wants to help small businesses.

Voters should start to receive their mail-in ballots about 18 days ahead of election day on Nov. 3.

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