Mayor of Hawaii County

The Mayor of Hawaii is the chief executive officer of the County of Hawaii in the state of Hawaii. He or she has municipal jurisdiction over the Big Island of Hawaii. The current mayor is Harry Kim.[1] The Mayor of Hawaii County is the successor of the Royal Governors of Hawaii Island of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Mayor of Hawaii County
Hawaii County hi seal
Harry Kim, Mayor of Hawaii County
Harry Kim

since December 5, 2016
Inaugural holderShunichi Kimura


Hawaii County began electing a mayor in 1968 when the present form of charter government was instituted. For most of the 20th century elected members of the Board of Supervisors, precursor to the Hawaii County Council, chose the chairman, and that chairman was essentially the chief operating officer of Hawaii County. That changed in 1964 a year after Act 73 of the 1963 Legislature which enabled counties to draft their own charters. Former Honolulu deputy County Corporation Counsel Shunichi Kimura was elected the last County Chairman in 1964 and the County elected its first mayor in 1968. Bruce McCall (1976), Megumi Kon (1984) and Larry Tanimoto (1990) all filled out the last few months of their predecessor's terms, in the case of Tanimoto, for Bernard Akana, who died of cancer less than two years into his term. Lorraine Inouye then won a special election to serve out Akana's last two years.

Past Mayors

Term in Office Name Party Other notes
1968–May 1974 Shunichi Kimura Democrat Resigned to become a 3rd Circuit Court judge.[2]
May 1974 - 1974 Bruce McCall Democrat Kimura's managing director; became mayor after his resignation.[2]
1974–1984 Herbert Matayoshi Democrat Resigned to run for Hawaii State Senate[2]
1984 Megumi Kon Democrat Matayoshi's managing director; became mayor after his resignation[2]
1984–1988 Dante Keala Carpenter Democrat Lost reelection to Akana in 1989[3]
1988–April 12, 1990 Bernard Akana Republican Died of cancer while in office[4]
April 12, 1990 - 1990 Larry Tanimoto Republican Bernard Akana's managing director after Susan Labrenz left the post earlier; became mayor after Akana's death for eight months until the special election to fill Akana's term.[5]
1990–December 7, 1992 Lorraine Inouye Democrat Won special election held eight months after Akana's death.[6]
December 7, 1992 – December 2000 Stephen Kei Yamashiro Democrat
December 2000 – December 1, 2008 Harry Kim Republican and unaffiliated In the 2004 elections, local laws were changed so mayoral candidates were without party affiliations.
December 1, 2008 – December 5, 2016 Billy Kenoi Unaffiliated
December 5, 2016 - Incumbent Harry Kim Unaffiliated


  1. ^ County of Hawaii — Mayor, Hawaii County, 2005. Accessed 2007-08-05.
  2. ^ a b c d "Last Isle mayoral vacancy was in 1990". Honolulu Advertiser. 2008-06-24. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
  3. ^ Honolulu Star-Bulletin Editorial Column
  4. ^
  5. ^ County of Hawaii 1996 - 1997 Annual Report: Department of Parks and Recreation Archived 2008-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Lorraine Rodero Inouye - Candidate For Mayor of the County of Hawai'i Archived 2008-11-20 at the Wayback Machine
Asian American and Pacific Islands American conservatism in the United States

Asian Americans and Pacific Islands Americans have given fluctuating levels of support to conservative movements and political parties in the United States, particularly the Republican Party. Many Republican Party members with these origins have obtained posts as elected representatives and political appointments as office holders.

Bernard Akana

Bernard K. Akana (1920 or 1921 - April 12, 1990) was an American engineer and politician. He served as the Mayor of Hawaii County from 1988 until his death on April 12, 1990.Akana worked for the Hawaii Electric Light Company as a design planner before his retirement. He unsuccessfully ran as a perennial candidate for elected office on ten separate elections over the course of twenty years before being elected Mayor of Hawaii County in 1988.In 1988, Akana challenged incumbent Democratic Hawaii County Mayor Dante Carpenter in the mayoral election. Akana, a Republican, was considered a long shot candidate for the office. He "threw no fund-raisers, made no campaign promises, sought no union endorsements and spent only $1,660." However, on November 8, 1988, Akana pulled off an upset victory by unseating Carpenter in the election. He was sworn into office in 1988.

Akana died of stomach cancer while in office on April 12, 1990, in Hilo, Hawaii, at the age of 70. Akana's managing director, Larry Tanimoto, became acting Mayor of Hawaii upon his death. Tanimoto remained in office for eight months until a special mayoral election could be held to fill the remainder of Akana's term in office.Lorraine Inouye, a member of the Hawaii County Council, was elected to succeed Akana for the remainder of his term. She defeated her nearest rival, Stephen Yamashiro, by just 76 votes to become mayor.

Billy Kenoi

William P. Kenoi is an American politician who served as Mayor of Hawaii County from 2008-2016. Before being elected mayor, Kenoi served as a legislative aide in the State House and State Senate, a law clerk, a deputy public defender, and an Executive Assistant to then-mayor Harry Kim.

Governors of Hawaii (island)

The Governor of Hawaiʻi Island (Hawaiian: Kiaʻaina o na Mokupuni o Hawaiʻi) was the royal governor or viceroy of the Island of Hawaiʻi during the Kingdom of Hawaii. The Governor of Hawaii was usually a Hawaiian chief or prince and could even be a woman. There were no restriction of women in government in the House of Nobles or Governship of the islands. The Governor had authority over the island of Hawaii, the biggest island in the kingdom, and it was up to the governor to appoint lieutenant governors to assisted them. The governor had replaced the old Aliʻis of the islands, but sovereignty remained with the king. The island governors were under the jurisdiction of the Ministers of the Interiors.

Harry Kim (politician)

Harry Kim (born 1939) is an American politician who is the mayor of Hawaii County. He previously served as mayor from 2000 to 2008. Before that, he was the county's civil defense director.

Hawaii (island)

Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian pronunciation: [həˈvɐjʔi]) anglicized Hawaii ( (listen) hə-WY-ee) is the largest island located in the U.S. state of Hawaii. It is the largest and the southeasternmost of the Hawaiian Islands, a chain of volcanic islands in the North Pacific Ocean. With an area of 4,028 square miles (10,430 km2), it has 63% of the Hawaiian archipelago's combined landmass, and is the largest island in the United States. However, it has only 13% of Hawaiʻi's people. The island of Hawaiʻi is the third largest island in Polynesia, behind the two main islands of New Zealand.The island is often referred to as the Island of Hawaiʻi, the Big Island, or Hawaiʻi Island to distinguish it from the state. Administratively, the whole island encompasses Hawaiʻi County.

As of the 2010 Census the population was 185,079. The county seat and largest city is Hilo. There are no incorporated cities in Hawaiʻi County (see List of counties in Hawaii).

Hawaii County, Hawaii

Hawaiʻi County is a county in the U.S. state of Hawaii in the Hawaiian Islands. It is coterminous with the Island of Hawaiʻi, often called the "Big Island" to distinguish it from the state as a whole. As of the 2010 Census the population was 185,079. The county seat is Hilo. There are no incorporated cities in Hawaiʻi County (see Hawaii Counties). The Hilo Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Hawaiʻi County. Hawaiʻi County has a mayor-council form of government. Hawaii County is the largest county in the state in terms of geography.

The mayor of Hawaii County is Harry Kim, who took office in 2016. Legislative authority is vested in a nine-member Hawaii County Council.

Hawaii County is one of seven counties in the United States to share the same name as the state they are in (the other six are Arkansas County, Idaho County, Iowa County, New York County, Oklahoma County, and Utah County).

Herbert Matayoshi

Herbert Tatsuo Matayoshi (November 21, 1928 – July 11, 2011) was an American politician and businessman. Matayoshi was the mayor of Hawaii County from 1974 to 1984. He was the third Mayor of Hawaii County, as well as its second elected Mayor overall. Matayoshi was also the longest-serving mayor of Hawaii County to date, holding the office for ten years.

Kona coffee

Kona coffee is the market name for coffee (Coffea arabica) cultivated on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the North and South Kona Districts of the Big Island of Hawaii. It is one of the most expensive coffees in the world. Only coffee from the Kona Districts can be described as "Kona". The weather of sunny mornings, cloud or rain in the afternoon, little wind, and mild nights combined with porous, mineral-rich volcanic soil create favorable coffee growing conditions. The loanword for coffee in the Hawaiian language is kope, pronounced [ˈkope].

Korean immigration to Hawaii

Korean immigration to Hawaii has been constant since the early 20th century. There have been two distinct points at which immigration has peaked: the first wave from 1903 to 1949, the second wave from 1950 to 1964. On January 13, 2003, George W. Bush made a special proclamation honoring the Centennial of Korean Immigration to the United States, recognizing the contributions of Korean Americans to the nation.

Larry Tanimoto

Larry Tanimoto is an American administrator and politician. Tanimoto became the Mayor of Hawaii County in 1990 following the death of Mayor Bernard Akana.

Tanimoto became the managing director of Mayor Bernard Akana's administration following the departure of Akana's previous director, Susan Labrenz. Mayor Akana died of stomach cancer on April 12, 1990, at the age of 70. Tanimoto became the interim Mayor of Hawaii upon Akana's passing. He held the mayoral office for eight months until a special election could be held to fill the remainder of Akana's unexpired term.Democrat Lorraine Inouye won the special election to succeed Akana and Tanimoto in 1990. He defeated fellow Democrat Stephen K. Yamashiro by just 76 votes in the special election.

List of Hawaii politicians

Below is a List of Hawaiʻi politicians from the monarchical, republican, territorial, and statehood eras of history who have articles devoted to them on Wikipedia. Also listed are politicians who were born and raised in Hawaiʻi but have assumed political roles in other states or countries.

Lorraine Inouye

Lorraine Rodero Inouye (born June 22, 1940) is an American politician from the state of Hawaii. A member of the Democratic Party, she serves in the Hawaii State Senate, representing District 4. She is of no relation to prominent U.S. senator from Hawaii Daniel Inouye.

Puna, Hawaii

Puna is one of the 9 districts of Hawaii County on the Island of Hawaiʻi (Big Island; County of Hawaiʻi). It is located on the windward side (east side) of the island and shares borders with South Hilo district in the north and Kaʻū district in the west. With a size of just under 320,000 acres (1,300 km2) or 500 sq. miles. Puna is slightly smaller than the island of Kauaʻi.Puna cropland supports floriculture, nurseries and macadamia nuts. Most of the state’s papayas crops are grown in the lower Puna area which is regarded as the best place in the Islands to grow the crop.

Russell S. Kokubun

Russell S. Kokubun (born 1948), is a Democratic politician who became a member and Vice President of the Hawaii Senate.

Stephen K. Yamashiro

Stephen Kei Yamashiro (July 15, 1941 – May 24, 2011) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the former Mayor of Hawaii County from 1992 to 2000. Yamashiro served on the Hawaii County council from 1976 to 1990, including eleven years as the council's chairman. He then served as the Mayor of Hawaii for two consecutive, four-year terms from 1992 until 2000.The Honolulu Star-Bulletin has referred to Yamashiro as "among the most influential political leaders" in the history of the Big Island of Hawaii. More specifically, Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter Hugh Clark has called Yamashiro, "probably … the most significant newsmaker on the Big Island" during the final thirty years of the 20th century.

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo or UH Hilo is a public co-educational university in Hilo, Hawaiʻi, United States. It is one of ten general campuses of the University of Hawaiʻi system. It was founded as Hawaiʻi Vocational College (Hawaiʻi College) in 1941. In 1970 it was reorganized by an act of the Hawaiʻi State Legislature.

The university has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges since 1976. It offers thirty-three undergraduate and three graduate degree programs, and has about 3000 students; most are residents of Hawaiʻi, but there are many international students too.

Virginia Isbell

Virginia Isbell (May 8, 1932-September 19, 2019) is a former educator and politician on Hawaiʻi Island.

Isbell was born in Montana. Here father was an immigrant from Italy while her mother was born in the United States. She married Donald Isbell in 1953. They moved to Hawaii in 1960.

Waiakea High School

Waiākea High School is a public, co-educational secondary school in Hilo, Hawaii. The school's mascot is the Warrior. It is part of the Hawaii State Department of Education. The school graduated its first class in 1980, and has about 1300 students. It is across the street from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The campus boasts the sculpture Landscape on the Ocean by Satoru Abe. Waiākea High School's crosstown rival is Hilo High School.

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