Honolulu City councilwoman Ann Kobayashi spoke to reporters today about the reports that former congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa will run for Honolulu mayor in 2020. Hanabusa delivered a statement to the media via email yesterday, citing homelessness and the skyrocketing costs of the rail as key issues that face the city. The email stated:

“There are people in positions of power that don’t seem to care about the well being of our children’s future and the quality of life of the residents of Honolulu. The Rail and Homelessness are out of control and I cannot sit by and do nothing as I watch the Hawaii I love, and our people, lose all trust and hope.”

Hanabusa has filed an organizational report with the Campaign Spending Commission, but she has yet to announce an official mayoral run.

When asked to clarify whether or not Hanabusa is, in fact, planning to run for mayor, Kobayashi said, “She’s seriously considering it because of the many problems facing our city…She realizes that it’s the city issues that really hit people right in the pocket book, right in the heart.”

When Kobayashi was asked about whether or not Hanabusa could have done more to address issues with the rail as a member of the board of directors of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART), she said, “the buck stops at the mayor’s office,” and that Hanabusa “did as much she could.”

On climate change, Kobayashi stated that Hanabusa is “very aware of it. She’s willing and ready to tackle those problems.”

Current mayor Kirk Caldwell, who appointed Hanabusa to the board of directors of HART in 2015, will finish his second and final term next year, leaving the mayoral race wide open.

Hanabusa previously served in the US House of Representatives from 2011-2015, and then again from 2016-2019. In 2018, she challenged David Ige for the gubernatorial nomination in the democratic primary, eventually losing to the incumbent governor.