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CANDIDATE PROFILE - HawaiʻI County Mayor



Wendell J. Kaʻehuʻaeʻa

Residence: Panaʻewa

Bio: 

My name is Wendell J. Kaʻehuʻaeʻa candidate for the office of Mayor for Hawaii County 2020. I am originally from Honolulu Oahu where I joined the Navy after graduating from Farrington High School. Upon my return home from the Navy, I worked for Aloha Airlines as a passenger service and ramp control agent. Later I took a position with Holmes & Narves which is part of the US Atomic energy Commission on Johnston Island. Upon my return from Johnston Island I attended Honolulu Business College where I obtained my business degree. Immediately after graduation I was offered a position at Coca Cola in Hilo. Following Coca Cola, I moved over to Suisan as a Cost Accountant and Sales covering Hilo, Waimea, Kohala, Puna and Kaʻū. I have 2 sons, 2 daughters and 6 grandchildren. I built 2 radio stations which include KAHU 1060 AM in Hilo and 91.7 FM in Pahala. I worked for Puna Sugar as a Cultivation Supervisor before it closed. I did  community outreach for Nā Leo O Hawaii Community television.


Why do you think you are the right candidate for mayor of Hawaiʻi County? 

I am the right candidate for the position because I have the work experience, the education, common sense and most of all the heart and drive required to support and represent the people and families of each community.


Please tell us about your biggest personal or professional accomplishments in the past five years.

Being able to share my knowledge with small businesses, students going to high school and Uh Hilo and advising people in the community on how to start up their own business. 


What will be your top three priorities in your first 100 days as mayor? 

Having a private auditor audit County Government, define specific service goals toward public in each department and finally changing the attitude and moral of county employees ensuring more open door transparent attitudes internally as well as toward our public. 


Some say "development" has a negative connotation in Hawaiʻi. Others say it is an important element in our community's future. Where do you stand?

I support development as long as it benefits our families on Hawaiʻi Island and not benefiting coorperations.


As mayor, what would you do to implement the principles of the ʻĀina Aloha Economic Futures Declaration?

As a native Hawaiian on Hawaiian homes land in Panaʻewa for the past 40 plus years I am a role model to ʻĀina Aloha and how to respect preserve and work the land and ocean as the land and ocean works for you. 


Which areas of the Aloha+ Challenge will you focus on as mayor, and what plans do you have to help achieve these sustainability goals on Hawaiʻi Island?

Every department will  have a live person answering the phone we have lost touch with our people and our job as public servants that needs to change. All reserved stalls etc needs to open up to public. We need to bring culture shows, classes, talk story sessions to allow the community to get more intuned with the culture and with each other.


During the COVID-19 pandemic, the County has gotten involved in addressing food, housing, medical care, and other social welfare needs. How should the County pivot to focus on economic recovery and growth?

Be more supportive of non profit groups such as food basket, hope service church organizations with resources available. These organizations are on the front line they know and have a first hand view of the needs of our community the county needs to support them with the resources available to generate a bigger impact.


How important is the growth of clean, renewable energy for Hawaiʻi Island? Which technologies should we embrace, and should any be left off the table?

I am in support of renewable energy we need to be less depended on HELCO this will help our families with inexpesive utilities and generate more jobs. All technology to create a cleaner better less dependent community should be embraced nothing should be left on the table new ideas advance technology should be discussed. Everything should be transparent.


What factors or considerations will you take in hiring your cabinet, and who are some of the people you are considering or the strategy you will use to build your team?

Cabinet will be from within with qualified experience and education, there will be no you are my friend I'll get you in attitude in my cabinet my selection will be with the idea of what is best or who is best to do the job that will benefit the community the most.  


As Mayor, you will make decisions that affect this island and the children who will inherit it for generations to come. What is your commitment to them?

Increase support for learning trades, participating in sports and learning their culture. We need to get our youth more involved in community and provide resources for them to learn and eventually be able to successfully run our Island. 


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