Former HHSAA chief Keith Amemiya announces his bid for mayor

The ILH and OIA came together in 2018 to make a two-year pilot program of an integrated football schedule between the leagues. The major players involved in this detente are OIA executive director Ray Fujino, former HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya, who announced his bid for mayor on Tuesday, and ILH executive director Blane Gaison. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

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.


  1. ??? August 27, 2019 1:23 pm

    He can’t even get High School Sports Right & he wants to run the City & County?
    Hawaii H.S. sports is still far behind the mainland on a lot of different subjects.

  2. CrusaderDad August 27, 2019 1:47 pm

    ??? where is HI HS sports behind the mainland? You know that Hawaii is the only state in the country to ensure that at least two trainers are working at every public high school…HI has a tiered football system (Open, etc) and other sports (Bball, soccer)…

  3. ??? August 27, 2019 3:25 pm

    Let’s start with the lack of money support from the state: lacking big time in public schools but you wouldn’t know cause you’re a crusader dad.
    Most Hawaii teams can’t afford equipment to suit up 50 kids while STL has 90 kids & 24 coaches.
    Mainland has video replay & they can use tv or tablets during games to make corrections & adjustments.
    They don’t Call targeting on every big hit like Hawaii refs.
    Just watch Bosco & Gorman when they come down.
    Stop being a crusader for one day and analyze Hawaii football as a whole.
    We still don’t have a shot clock in basketball for crying out loud!
    I can go on & on but My fingers are tired!

  4. ??? August 27, 2019 3:30 pm

    Maybe if you were at Waialua, Nanakuli etc…(No offense to those schools) you would see the struggle is Real.
    Come off of Kalaepohaku sometimes and see the real world.

  5. CrusaderDad August 27, 2019 5:37 pm

    That’s not something HHSAA controls. You bring up valid issues that the DOE controls. As a person who’s been involved in education these are things that the community needs to get more involved in. BTW, I have bought my son 2 helmets over the last 3 years because i felt the team issued helmet was old.

  6. CrusaderDad August 27, 2019 5:48 pm

    Regarding # that can be suited up…that’s a school and coaching issue…I’m not sure how many schools StL has more students than…I know other private schools are having the same issue – this is a national trend.

    I guess the question is – would the schools have enough lockers, equipment, unis for 90 players?

  7. CrusaderDad August 27, 2019 5:58 pm

    ??? Change the last comment to if the schools had the …would they be able to get 90 players. If a school can get 90, at the very least that’s just a lot of fundraising…

    Targeting calls over time is for the betterment of the game and kids safety…I honestly believe that. AND this is a detriment to big hitting schools, Kahuku, Waianae, StL…

  8. ??? August 27, 2019 8:19 pm

    Curious to see if it will be Hawaii or mainland referees calling the STL-Gorman game? That in itself will make a Difference!

  9. Bryan Mick August 28, 2019 6:48 am

    I think blaming Keith/HHSSA for things that are not under their control makes no sense. It’s like when people blame the mayor for things the governor controls (or vice versa). Yes, the DOE doesn’t fund athletics very well. That’s the fault of the DOE, Legislature, and Governor. Heck, they can’t even get the classrooms cooled down after 5 years of trying, though they have made progress.

  10. iGrokSpock August 28, 2019 8:52 am

    I thought that the Mayor’s race is nonpartisan?

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