Keith supports you!
A message to HGEA members ...
During the COVID-19 emergency, public employees have stood strong. As our communities wrestle with the uncertainty of the pandemic’s impact, tens of thousands of HGEA members have continued to serve on the front lines and behind-the-scenes to ensure the continuity of state and county services for all of us. Your contributions too often go unnoticed and unrecognized — but having worked alongside many of you during my time leading the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA), as an executive administrator at the University of Hawaii System and serving on the Board of Education, I have deep appreciation and respect for all that you do. That’s why I am truly humbled and especially proud to receive the support of the Hawaii Government Employees Association.
I have spent my entire life working through tough situations — both in my personal life and career. When I was growing up, my mom struggled with mental illness and did not have the ability to raise me on her own. My hanai family provided me with countless opportunities and because of their generosity and compassion, I was able to thrive. I know my story is not unique, as there are many who struggle to build a better life for themselves and their families. That’s what drives me to serve and give back to our community.
During my 12 years at HHSAA, I faced controversial issues about high school athletics that others before me didn’t have the courage to address: gender inequality and disparities between schools. I traveled to all 95 schools statewide to listen and talk story with thousands of people — student-athletes, parents, coaches, school administrators, legislators, business executives. During the state budget cuts of 2009, I quickly implemented a campaign that successfully kept athletic programs afloat. To this day, high school sports continues to address educational inequality and profoundly impacts many students’ lives. I’m confident that my record of bringing people together will help us in our economic recovery.
HGEA’s endorsement is especially meaningful to me. I share your values and recognize everything you do to make Hawaii a better place. These are challenging times and our city needs a leader to help us emerge from the economic and social damage as a result of COVID-19. As mayor, working together with all of you, I know we will reposition our island for the future. As a public employee, you have been there for our community. I promise you that as mayor, I will be there for you.