Why I’m Running for Congress

Why I’m running for Congress

Three years ago my life changed forever. On January 18th, 2016, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I found my dad having a major heart attack. For the next nine days, my dad fought valiantly for his life. On January 26, 2016, he lost the battle and passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at Queen’s Hospital on the island of Oʻahu.

Laying in the hospital knowing his time was near, my dad, the late State Senator Gil Kahele, urged me to carry on his work in public service. He knew there was work left undone. My dad dreamed of a truly great Hawai‘i, one where justice and prosperity are enjoyed equally by all. This was the humble dream of this gentle Hawaiian man from Miloliʻi. He knew that an even better Hawai‘i remained ahead for future generations.

Those who knew him called him the “consummate statesman.” He passionately believed in bringing people together. He fearlessly worked to elevate his community. He courageously governed knowing that people of every race, religion, gender identity, nationality, or sexual orientation deserved compassion, equality, and freedom.

It was in this setting of love, justice, and service that I was raised. It is one of the greatest privileges and blessings of my life to be the son of Gil Kahele.

As a child, my first Washington D.C. visit was to meet my dad’s friend, the late Senator Daniel K. Akaka. Public servants like my dad, Senator Akaka, and Senator Inouye came from a generation of veterans who believed in the American dream. They understood that if people commit to something greater than themselves, the dream never dies.

This is no time for building walls. This is a time to continue to build hope, to build dreams, to build unity. We need a strong economy where all people can enjoy a living wage. We will provide compassionate social services for every person in need. We must lift our future generations and encourage them to be better than us. We do this by providing outstanding public education. We ensure that all Americans have quality and affordable health care. We protect future generations by not turning a blind eye to the dangers of climate change, global warming, and natural disasters. We must govern with knowledge and courage.

As a father of three daughters, I know there is no greater obligation of every generation than this: we must leave this planet to our children in better condition than we received it.

From Afghanistan to Hilo Bay, I have traveled the world many times over and can say with great confidence that there is no greater country than the United States. Washington D.C. may be struggling to demonstrate that greatness now, but the enduring might of freedom cannot be denied for long.

My commitment to Hawai‘i is this:

I will work hard and faithfully for you. I will listen to your concerns. I will work honorably with our entire Congressional delegation and all the government officials in Washington D.C. that serve you. I will work to find solutions. I will stand for our values, our beliefs, our principles. I will stand for everything that is great and extraordinary about our Hawaiʻi.

This is not an easy task, but it is a necessary one. The divides in Washington D.C. have rarely been greater, but this only means that we need to send our very best to tackle these many issues.

I am up to the challenge. I look forward to meeting you. I will make you proud. I humbly ask for your support and consideration.

Kai Kahele
Candidate, 2nd Congressional District, State of Hawaiʻi