Who is Hawaii Rep Kai Kahele?

KAI Kahele has been the representative for Hawaii's second congressional district since January 2021.

He previously served in the Hawaii State Senate as a representative for the 1st Senatorial District.

Who is Kai Kahele?

Kai Kahele was born and raised on the island of Hawaii and attended the University of Hawaii at Mānoa where he earned his Bachelor's degree in education.

During his college education, Kahele was an athlete, playing for the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Men’s Volleyball Team that went to two Final Fours and went to the National Championship in 1996.

While he is now a congressional representative for Hawaii's second district, Kahele previously served 18 years in the Hawaii Air National Guard and the United States Air Force as a pilot and commissioned officer.


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He is a decorated Lt Col and has been awarded a total of eight medals including the Air Medal for combat missions flown in Afghanistan, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.

Kahele has continued to serve at the Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii in the position of Lt Col.

What are his policies?

Kahele was motivated by his father, Akaka Kahele, who served as a United States Senator for Hawaii.

He says on his official website that public servants like his father, "who came from a generation of veterans" believed the "American dream would never die," and it is this notion that has led him to become a member of Congress.

He says now "is a time to continue to build hope, to build dreams, to build unity," adding that his policies are aimed to leave behind a better world for younger generations.

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"We need a strong economy where all people can enjoy a living wage. … We must lift our future generations and encourage them to be better than us. We do this by providing outstanding public education. We ensure that all Americans have quality and affordable health care.

"We protect future generations by not turning a blind eye to the dangers of climate change, global warming, and natural disasters. We must govern with knowledge and courage."

He is working to improve the economy and education, take action against climate change, additional laws for gun control including "universal background checks as well as a ban on the commercial sale of military-style assault weapons."

His website addresses the LGBTQ+ community and says he strives to work for a fairer world for them.

"We must address the epidemic of violence against the trans community across the country, end conversion therapy, lift the ban on transgender service members serving in our armed forces, and stop the bullying of LGBTQ+ youth…," his site says.

What does Kai Kahele do in his spare time?

Despite his busy schedule, Kahele still pilots planes, primarily Hawaiian Airlines.

A spokesperson for Kahele said he pilots "occasional flights" but said he "drastically reduced schedule to maintain his active status," Politico reported.

Kahele told Hana Hou in December 2021 that people flying Hawaiian Air are often surprised to see him piloting the plane.

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“When they walk on a plane and see me, they’re like, ‘Aren’t you supposed to be in Congress?’ And I’m like, ‘Nope. Today I’m flying you to Las Vegas!’”

His side job earned him nearly $120,000 in 2020, according to his most recent House financial disclosure report.

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