Choon James, a Laie-based activist who is one of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s most vocal critics, is running to replace him after his term expires this year.

James announced her candidacy for mayor on Monday afternoon at Honolulu Hale where she is a frequent testifier at City Council meetings.

Community advocate Choon James is running for mayor. Courtesy: Choon James

“I know I’m the underdog, but we must take the government back,” she said in a statement. “For too long, democracy has been hijacked by big money and special interests in the decision-making process. Ordinary people have been disenfranchised, ignored and left out.”

Originally from Singapore, James is a real estate broker who advocates for good government, fiscal accountability, and environmental, social and economic justice, according to her campaign announcement.

Choon said she has been “participating, observing and analyzing” city hall for 12 years, which motivated her to run for office. She ran for a City Council seat in 2018 but came in third behind now Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi.

In her announcement, James said she won’t be accepting campaign donations from lobbyists or political action committees.

“I choose to depend on the goodness of our grassroots to take the government back,” she said.

Also running for mayor are businessman Keith Amemiya – who has already raised over $730,000 – former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Honolulu Councilman Ron Menor and Councilwoman Kymberly Pine.

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