Amemiya was one of them. And for years, Keith Amemiya has been a generous donor to the political campaigns of Hawaii’s power players. In our family, no matter how bleak an outlook may be, he is never the one to bring up doubts. As a nonprofit leader, Keith always put the needs of the community above self-interest. We need to level the playing field. She is the chief financial officer at aio, a group of companies founded by, Amemiya is the only top-tier candidate with a written plan to fill the, Aggressive enforcement on short-term vacation rentals, Investments in infrastructure to facilitate affordable development, Hiring more staff at the Department of Planning and Permitting to cut through backlogs, Waiving sewer, park and other fees for affordable projects, Rezoning land within the urban core to allow more density there and “keep the country country”, Asked about his past work on housing issues, Amemiya pointed to Tradewind Capital’s involvement in the development of 801 South Street in Kakaako. “He can get all of those voters if he can convince folks he’s competent to do that job.”. But communities should not be left to fend for themselves. The challenges and generosity of thousands of families cemented Keith’s commitment to public service. It required working closely with schools, the county government, the  Legislature and the governor’s office to obtain funding and advocate for program and policy changes. Covering the pandemic has taken a lot of our collective energy. Amemiya said it’s too soon to say where cuts may be needed. As I got older though, it became clearer how he accomplishes the tasks and goals that others may not have known needed to be done. But Amemiya said the job was more than that. , and the unions representing plumbers and fitters, painters and dock workers. State lawmakers passed the bill, which is awaiting a decision by Ige. Keith went to UH law school and after seven years as a litigator, Keith left law to become the Executive Director of the Hawaiʻi High School Athletics Association at the age of 32. • Mufi Hannemann: He Was Mayor Once Before. And for years, Keith Amemiya has been a generous donor to the political campaigns of Hawaii’s power players. He then studied finance at the University of Hawaii Manoa and earned a law degree from the UH law school. If you’ve relied on our election coverage this season, please consider making a tax-deductible gift to support our newsroom. That student later received a UH scholarship and returned to Molokai where she is a public school teacher and coach. Check the boxes for emails you'd like to receive. He also led company community service projects, he said. Christina Jedra is a watchdog reporter covering the City and County of Honolulu for Civil Beat. Much of his support is at the grassroots level, he said, with many people from his high school athletics days supporting his run. Amemiya came in third with 10% of respondents saying they plan to vote for him. “The key to reopening the economy is testing, contact tracing, wearing masks and social distancing,” he said. The Kobayashis enabled Amemiya to transfer from public school to Punahou where he graduated in 1983. “They’re experienced in being involved in politics their whole career. Make a contribution to our campaign today. Amemiya lives in Pauoa with his wife, Bonny Amemiya. Keith’s grandparents worked in the pineapple fields of Wahiawā. Amemiya donated thousands to Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s political campaigns. “And that’s why I’m running.”. In 2015, he and his wife paid $375,300 for a one-bedroom unit on the 44th floor, property records show. “Developing high rise condominiums is financially risky,” he said. Amemiya is also well-connected in the private sector. Ige appointed him to the Aloha Stadium Authority board. “Sometimes it takes someone like a teacher or a coach to help them navigate their adolescence and steer them into the right direction in adulthood.”. The minimumum donation amount is $5.00. If you want to go far, go together. “We all need to be responsible.”. He traveled to all 95 schools across the state, sat in garage talk stories, and learned about the challenges facing families and their strengths as a community. In 2015, he and his wife paid $375,300 for a one-bedroom unit on the 44th floor, property records show. Hanabusa resigned from the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board to run for Congress, a race she won. We need to restore trust in government.”. In the future, he said, he’ll give it to his son. He also led company community service projects, he said. His father, the fifth of seven kids, played baseball and got into Punahou School and later the University of Hawaiʻi. In a world where the public is becoming increasingly cynical and pessimistic, change is sorely needed in the effort to redirect O‘ahu’s course in a positive direction. During the 2009 state budget shortfall that brought “Furlough Fridays” for schools and threatened to end all junior varsity sports at public high schools, Keith spearheaded the “Save Our Sports” Campaign. It would be funded with existing resources in the mayor’s office, he said. The project was launched as a workforce housing complex, meaning 75% of the units had to be sold to people making 140% of the area median income or below. We need to level the playing field. Until last year, he was the campaign treasurer for U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. Hannemann appointed him to the Honolulu Police Commission in 2006, and Abercrombie appointed him to the Hawaii Board of Education in 2011. If you want to go far, go together. Has a son Christopher, who is a college sophomore. Married for 24 years to wife Bonny who is a Chief Financial Officer. To head off a wave of homelessness related to the current economic crisis, Amemiya said the city needs to work with the state and federal government as well as nonprofits. “They’re about as establishment as you can get,” said Colin Moore, director of the University of Hawaii Public Policy Center. Local 5 endorses Keith Amemiya for Honolulu mayor, 4 Honolulu City Council members endorse Keith Amemiya for mayor, Mayoral candidates address COVID, other issues in Kokua Council debate, Four more Honolulu City Council members endorse Amemiya for mayor, Hawaii AFL-CIO endorses Keith Amemiya for mayor. “It’s clear we need to constantly remain vigilant,” he said. When Keith was young, his mom’s mental health began to decline and his parents eventually divorced. Subscribe to our mailing list to be notified of upcoming events and to learn more about Keith’s ideas on how to fix Honolulu. As a nationwide movement demands more accountability from police departments, Amemiya said it’s worth evaluating the structure of the Honolulu Police Department. He oversaw programs covering 95 public and private high schools statewide and 33,000 student athletes, he said. Now he’s stepping into the fray himself. Amemiya lives in Pauoa with his wife, Bonny Amemiya. Elected officials have also chosen Amemiya to serve on citizen boards. Our mission is to engage and educate the community on important public issues through in-depth reporting, explanatory and investigative journalism, analysis and commentary. Despite deep political ties to numerous state and local officials, Keith Amemiya says he has the fresh perspective that Honolulu needs in the mayor’s office. Amemiya said he oversaw operations, sat on the boards of Atlas and Pacxa, gave legal advice and brought in new clients. Amemiya is the son of former state Attorney General Ron Amemiya; and the cousin of Honolulu City Managing Director Roy Amemiya, Jr. Reading his website, “About Keith,” one would never know that Amemiya … The city has already developed projects like the Kumu Wai building for kupuna, but Amemiya thinks the city should do more. It’s not easy for a humble person like Keith to talk about his accomplishments and it’s also not easy for A joint Civil Beat/Hawaii News Now poll in May found that many voters were still undecided, but businessman Rick Blangiardi and Hanabusa were the respondents’ top picks. Amemiya was one of them. My dad has always been a great leader and I know he’ll do the same as mayor. And it seems they are using those connections to get him elected mayor by supporting his campaign. Property tax increases would be “a very last resort” for both residences and hotels, he said. He would consider property tax deferrals for hotels that have shut down or sat mostly vacant. Copyright © 2010-2020 Honolulu Civil Beat Inc. All rights reserved. 1980’s – Worked at Dole Pineapple cannery during summers while in high school, 1991 to 1998 – Employed as an attorney specializing in civil litigation, 1998 to 2009 – Hawaii High School Athletic Association (“HHSAA”), 2010 to 2012 – Executive Administrator to the Board of Regents – University of Hawaiʻi, 2012 to 2020  – Senior Vice President of Island Holdings which has five subsidiaries, including Island Insurance and Atlas Insurance Agency, Learn about Keith and why he's running for Mayor. As for the more than 4,400 people who are already homeless on Oahu, he said the city should be focusing on creating more shelter space and making available more mental health and addiction services. In the nonpartisan race, Amemiya is the only candidate who has advertised that he is a Democrat. “They’re about as establishment as you can get,” said Colin Moore, director of the University of Hawaii Public Policy Center. Elected officials have also chosen Amemiya to serve on citizen boards. Keith Amemiya has a lot of connections to very powerful people in Honolulu. That starts with housing, he said. During this unique election season, we appreciate that you and others like you have relied on Civil Beat for accurate, objective coverage of the candidates and their races. 1 priority would be an issue his predecessors haven’t had the “political will” to effectively tackle: housing and homelessness. He’s the son of former Hawaii Attorney General Ronald Amemiya and the cousin of Roy Amemiya, Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s managing director. “There is no one to his left,” Moore said. Although I never quite understood what my dad did for work, what always stood out to me was how hardworking he was. “We didn’t sell it like we could have for a high profit,” he said. Will That Help Or Hurt With Voters? My dad has proven, time and time again, that what sets him apart is not just Overall, Amemiya said his lack of government experience is a plus. He would also like to replicate the success of Kahauiki Village, the plantation-style community that came about through Kurisu’s partnership with the city and state.