Former Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive director Keith Amemiya announced his candidacy for mayor of Honolulu today at Ala Wai Community Park.
“I am running for mayor of Honolulu because too many of our people are losing hope that we can meet our greatest challenges, stop the scandals, cost overruns and corruption, and many believe that Honolulu has become too unaffordable for our people to continue to live here,” he said to a group of onlookers and supporters.
“Honolulu deserves a mayor who refuses to let our future slip away, a mayor who embraces honesty and integrity and restoring trust, a mayor who rejects the notion that our problems are too big, too complex and too expensive to solve. I will replace the no-can attitude and bring fresh energy and a new ‘can’ attitude to City Hall.”
Amemiya, 53, served as the HHSAA executive director from 1998 to 2009.
He oversaw many changes in the Hawaii high school sports landscape, including the initiation of a state football tournament in 1999, classification (from one to two divisions, allowing smaller schools to compete for titles) for state tournaments starting in 2003, and adding state tournaments such as judo, air riflery, canoe paddling and cheerleading.
In 2009, Amemeiya also spearheaded the ‘Save Our Sports’ campaign, which raised funds to offset budget cuts to public school athletic programs.
Then, despite being out of the HHSAA executive director position for nearly a decade, Amemiya was brought in to be part of the negotiations for the OIA-ILH football alliance. Under that new system, there is now three divisions (Open, D-I and D-II) for football state tournaments. In addition, the new two-year pilot program offers a much-more competitively balanced regular-season schedule.
In 2008, Amemiya was also part of a project to refurbish Roosevelt’s Ticky Vasconcellos Stadium by securing a grant from the NFL to go along with funds raised by Roosevelt’s alumni and the state Legislature.
Amemiya is a senior vice president of Island Holdings, Inc., which is a holding company that offers insurance services. He is a former executive administrator and secretary to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents.
Amemiya is a registered Democrat but is running as an independent.