HONOLULU (KHON2) — For nearly eight years, David Ige has been serving as Hawaii’s governor.

On Dec. 1, 2014, he was sworn in as Hawaii’s eighth governor and became the first governor in the United States of Okinawan descent. With election season upon us, Ige took time to look back — and look ahead — to share some facts about himself that don’t make the news cycle.

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Before getting to the Q&A, a little background —

Ige was born and raised in Pearl City, and has five brothers. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa where he met his wife Dawn Amano-Ige. After college, while working for GTE Hawaiian Tel, Ige earned a master’s degree in Decisions Sciences at UH Mānoa.

Ige went on to become an electrical engineer and project manager, devoting 34 years to information technology, telecommunications, networks and responsible public policy.

Gov. David Ige ready for another four years as governor
Gov. David Ige and his wife Dawn Amano-Ige in 2019.

In 1985, Ige began his political career. He was appointed by then Gov. George Ariyoshi to fill a vacant seat in the Hawaii House of Representatives. In 1994, Ige was elected to the Hawaii Senate where he represented his home district of Aiea/Pearl City until 2014.

Ige and his wife have three children: Lauren, Amy and Matthew.


What was your very first job?

A trimmer at the pineapple cannery, Del Monte. I actually worked there four summers!

If you weren’t governor, what job do you think you’d be doing?

If I weren’t governor, I’d like to be a tech billionaire!

You recently said at an event you liked to play video games in high school. Did you have a favorite game?

Back then, Commodore or Atari!

If you could play any sport, what sport would you play and what position?

I mean, I would play tennis. I played tennis for a long time, and I was better at doubles than singles, obviously, haha! But I hope to be able to get back to play once it’s all over.

I played on the Pearl City High School team and was team captain. We went from last to first my senior year and won the western division championship. We lost the OIA final to Kalani — we thought we got robbed! It was 3 to 2 in the OIA final, and Kalani ended up being state champs!

Do you watch Netflix?

I do watch Netflix, though I don’t watch too much TV in general. I like Iron Chef and Final Table — shows about aspiring chefs. It’s interesting to see that competition.

Who makes dinner, you or Dawn?

We split it. She does more cooking now than I do, but we do bulk cooking. So on a Saturday or Sunday, I’ll do three dinners, and then it lasts me about three weeks. Because you know, I do a pot of chili. I grill some steaks. And we would eat the same thing for the most part if we’re not going out.

What is your go-to meal? What is the meal you’re always making?

I do the grilling, so steaks and chili and beef stew. Dawn makes the healthy stuff. She does salads and likes to make tofu patties. That kind of stuff.

Who liked whom first — you or Dawn?

I don’t know who would say who liked who first. Dawn would probably say it was me, but you know… I definitely asked her out!

How did you meet Dawn?

We met at the university. We were both in ASUH. We were actually running to be elected through ASUH when we met.

Do you have any pets?

Yes, I do have a pet cat named Lucy. It’s actually Amy’s [my daughter’s] cat. But of course, Amy left the house about 10 years ago, so Lucy stays with Dawn and I. 

How would you describe Lucy?

Lucy is the queen. You know, she goes where she wants to go. She lays down and messes up wherever she wants to. If I’m trying to do work in my home office, then she comes and plops herself down on my keyboard. If Dawn and I are talking in the dining room, then she comes and plops herself right in the middle of the dining room table. She will be wherever we are, because she wants to be.

Name a destination you’ve never been to but want to visit?

Patagonia. Everybody says it’s so beautiful. It’s something many people talk about and not many people get to go there!

What kind of music do you listen to?

I am an oldie. My playlist includes James Taylor and Carole King and Jim Croce and all the local guys from when I was growing up. I have all the C&K albums. I have all the Na Leo Pilimehana. All the old local albums and all the old artists.

Is that what you listen to when you run?

I listen to Chicago when I’m running, so I have the four decades of hits, and I have an exercise playlist.

What’s your cellphone wallpaper?

I am too boring. I have not put anything up there other than the default!

What’s your favorite office snack?

Dried fruits and nuts. The Costco trail mix!

Do you have a favorite quote or words of wisdom that you live by?

“Do the right thing, the right way.” That’s what I live by.

If there were a movie made about your life, who would play your character?

Oh, you mean other than Ryan Kalei-Tsuji! Haha! There’s not a whole lot of Asian actors, but I would say maybe Daniel Dae Kim. I really like him. He loves Hawaii. I appreciate that. He spends a lot of time here.

Favorite flavors on your shave ice?

I really like lilikoi and guava, so that’s what I do.

Do you prefer to eat popcorn plain, or popcorn and arare?

You have to have arare! I like the nori maki kine. It’s not just regular arare.

What’s your go-to saimin spot?

Shiro’s, of course!

Do you see yourself moving back to the Aiea, Pearl City area?

Oh yeah! In fact, we’re renovating our house. We rented it out for 7, 8 years. So we’re just trying to do a couple of renovations before moving back.

First place you’re visiting once you’re done?

We are talking about it right now. We’ll probably go to Seattle. The kids are up there and that would be a good place. They both bought homes there. So, that would probably be the first stop. Two of my kids, Matthew and Amy, are up there. Lauren is in Santa Barbara. She just moved there from D.C. I keep working on them! They’ve worked remotely for two years which means they could work from Hawaii! Matt could work for Microsoft from Hawaii, and Lauren for WilmerHale. But they don’t want to pay me taxes! 

Who would be the first to move home given the opportunity?

I think it’ll end up being Amy and Anthony [my son-in-law]. Amy talks about coming home more than Lauren and Matt. And my son-in-law Anthony is a Navy pilot. He wants to be a commercial airline pilot. That’s what he wants to do, so what better place than Hawaii! And she can come back and take care of Lucy!

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NOTE: These questions were compiled by Ige’s communications team.