The race to replace U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele in Congress has attracted the attention of Tommy Waters, the chair of the Honolulu City Council.

“I would seriously consider running should the seat be open,” Waters said Monday via text. “I feel an incredible sense of kuleana to the people of Hawaii and our local families who struggle to make ends meet.”

Kahele is said to be seriously considering a run for governor, an announcement that could come in just a few weeks.

Waters, who identified affordable housing, climate change and Native Hawaiian issues as possible campaign priorities, said he is concerned that CD2 has had four different representatives since 2002.

Honolulu City Council chair person Tommy Waters quotes his friend Billy Kenoi during session today.
Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters may run for Congress this year. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

“It is vitally important that whoever represents us is willing to spend the rest of their career fighting for Hawaii in Congress,” said Waters, who has pulled papers for the seat which covers all of the state except greater Honolulu.

Should Waters run to replace Kahele, that would open up his District 4 council seat, which runs from Hawaii Kai to Kahala to Waikiki.

Before being elected to the City Council in 2019, Waters served in the Hawaii House of Representatives. He is an attorney who was also a member of the Judicial Selection Commission.

About a half-dozen people have already pulled papers for the CD2 contest — Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians — though none have formally filed for the seat.

Other prospective candidates may soon emerge as well.

The filing deadline is June 7 and the primary is Aug. 13.

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