House Minority Leader Val Okimoto is planning to run for an open seat on the Honolulu City Council.

The Republican representative from Mililani and Mililani Mauka is seeking the Council District VIII seat, which will be left vacant this year since Councilman Brandon Elefante is term limited. The Council district includes Mililani Mauka, Mililani Town, Koa Ridge, Waipio Gentry, Crestview, Seaview, Pearl City, Newtown and Waimalu.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Okimoto was running for Council District VII.

Representative Val Okimoto during crossover.
House Minority Leader Val Okimoto plans to run for the Honolulu City Council in 2022. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

“Serving as a member of the Honolulu City Council offers unique opportunities to impactfully address some of the underlying issues in our communities and directly improve the lives of all our residents,” Okimoto said in a press release Friday announcing her candidacy.

If Okimoto ran for reelection in the House, she would likely run against fellow Republican Rep. Lauren Matsumoto. That’s because proposed election maps from the Hawaii Reapportionment Commission would lump the two in the same district.

Okimoto was first elected in 2018 and took over as minority leader last year.

Her departure would leave just two Republicans in the House, Matsumoto and Rep. Gene Ward.

Rep. Bob McDermott, also a member of the GOP, is leaving the Legislature to run for a U.S. Senate seat. His daughter-in-law Kayla Ramos McDermott is running to replace him.

Kurt Fevella is the sole Republican in the Hawaii state Senate.

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