Keith Amemiya joins the race for lieutenant governor
November 7 – Former mayoral candidate Keith Amemiya is now running in the crowded Democrats’ field for the post of lieutenant governor in 2022.
“Our state has lacked leadership for years and it needs to change,” Ame miya told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
He called the lieutenant governor’s office “an important post that … can have a positive impact on people across the state.”
Amemiya lost the non-partisan race for mayor of Honolulu last year to Rick Blangiardi. But Amemiya said he was encouraged that Oahu’s 149,735 voters chose him in the mayoral race, compared to Oahu’s 157,879 votes cast for all five candidates for office. lieutenant governor gathered in the Democratic primary.
Amemiya and Blan Giardi both campaigned as candidates for the first time with an outside-government perspective and emerged from an initial pool of 15 main candidates including former US Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, the former mayor. Mufi Hannemann and then city councilor Kym Pine.
“Voters are looking for candidates who have a new and different perspective than long-time politicians,” Amemiya said of the 2022 election. “And they’re looking for people who solve problems and who can build consensus and do work.
“My role would be to support the governor and his initiatives. There are so many challenges facing our state that no one can do it on their own.”
He named affordable housing, economic diversification and support for public education as key issues he would focus on.
Amemiya has become a household name among sporting families on the island as the executive director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association. He has accomplishments, including helping to raise funds for school programs and rallying factions to create a statewide high school football championship.
Amemiya is now the Executive Director of the Central Pacific Bank Foundation, the nonprofit arm of the Central Pacific Bank.
He and his wife, Bonny, have a son in college.
The winner of the lieutenant governor’s Democratic primary need only generate a plurality of voters to go to the general election of November 2022.
The seat open for Lieutenant Governor so far has drawn former State Senator Jill Tokuda, who represented the Windward Side and lost to current Lieutenant Governor Josh Green in the 2018 Democratic Primary ; former city council chairman Ikaika Anderson, who resigned her seat on Windward council in 2020 three months before her term expires; state representative Sylvia Luke (D, Punchbowl-Pauoa-Nuuanu), who is chair of the powerful House Finance Committee; and Sherry Menor-McNamara, President and CEO of the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce.