Hannemann announces decorated military veteran Les Chang as running mate, files for 2014 Governor’s race

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Mufi Hannemann and Les Chang official file to run as a team for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii.
Mufi Hannemann and Les Chang officially file to run as a team for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii.

Mufi Hannemann announced that his running mate for the 2014 gubernatorial race will be Windward Oahu resident and decorated Air Force Veteran Les Chang. They will run together as candidates of the newly formed Hawaii Independent Party (HIP).

Both Hannemann and Chang officially filed their nomination papers at the State of Hawaii, Office of Elections in Pearl City at 1:30 today, kicking off the team’s campaign for Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii.

Les Chang and Mufi Hannemann
Les Chang and Mufi Hannemann

Les Chang is a distinguished graduate of the University of Hawaii AFROTC program where he earned a BA in Education. He went on to an outstanding career serving his country for 30 years with major responsibilities for enhancing the quality of life for military members and their families throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

His last military assignment prior to retirement as an Air Force Colonel was being in charge of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) Pacific Region with 8,000 employees and $1.1 B annually in revenues. When he left, Chang was recognized for leading the largest positive turnaround in employee morale and customer satisfaction in AAFES world-wide.

The Lt. Governor candidate’s military awards and decorations include: Defense Superior Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, with 4 bronze oak leaf clusters, and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

He joined the City and County of Honolulu as the Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation with the Hannemann administration from 2004 to 2010. He developed a laser-like focus on the make-over, repair and maintenance of city parks. Under Chang’s leadership, the City’s nearly 300 parks and gardens were transformed to be open and accessible to all users young and old and their ohana.

“Les and his wife Sharon love our nation and have a deep affinity for Hawaii which is why he returned to the land of his birth. He has a track record as a capable, caring and experienced leader, who totally immerses himself in the service of his community,” said Hannemann. “I’m honored that he has stepped up and answered the call to run with me.” “He is exactly the kind of hard-working professional that is needed to fix state government. For example, I envision him playing a prominent role on issues dealing with PACOM and the military, our second largest industry and the veterans in our State, and lending his ideas to enhance State parks and programs centered on the youth and elderly.”

Hannemann has vowed to return to the collaborative management style, often focusing on going back to the basics, that he and other directors like Les Chang brought to the City and County of Honolulu. “The Hannemann administration made things happen and got a lot of things done for the people,” said Chang.

“We all benefited from an exceptionally well-managed city for the Mayor’s six years at City Hall.” Hannemann has embraced the spirit of the Hawaii Independent Party, and adopted a theme of “Think Independently…Come Home To The Middle.”

“Our objective is to serve the people—not make decisions for them based on any one political ideology or without their input,” said Hannemann. “The will of the people must be respected and they want government to function efficiently, and put the needs of the people first, and that is exactly what we are going to do with coleaders like Les Chang.”


“a most amazing story”

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Excerpts from Dan Boylan’s Seasons Of The Political Year –  MidWeek, May 7, 2014

Abercrombie already faces a primary challenge in the person of state Sen. David Ige. If he gets by his fellow Democrat in the primary, he will then face a rematch with the two men who opposed him in 2010, Republican Duke Aiona and newly minted Independent Mufi Hannemann.

Gail & Mufi with Frank Fasi and Joyce at the dedication of the Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building
Gail & Mufi with Frank Fasi and Joyce at the dedication of the Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building

Hannemann’s decision to run as an Independent finds historical precedent in the dilemma of the late Frank Fasi. Democrat Fasi began running for governor in 1974, but he could not get through the Democratic primary. George Ariyoshi beat him twice in a four-person contest in ’74 and again in 1978.

In 1994, Fasi created something called the Best Party and ran a third time for Hawaii’s highest office. The Democrats put up Ben Cayetano; the Republicans, Pat Saiki.

Cayetano won with 35.8 percent of the vote. Fasi, on the basis of a devoted personal following, ran second with 30 percent. Saiki finished third with 28.6 percent.

This year Hannemann is betting that he can do what Fasi couldn’t, that his base of supporters is rabid enough to carry him past the candidates running under the more traditional Democratic and Republican labels – and he’s undoubtedly carrying around some polling numbers that indicate he can do it.

Should he, that would make for a most amazing story.


Why The Hawaii Independent Party?

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By Mufi Hannemann

After much thought and contemplation, I believe it is time for me to resign from the Democratic Party of Hawaii.

It is an extremely difficult decision because the Democratic Party revolutionized Hawaii. It made our society more equitable, more fair, and more inclusive. It made these islands a better place for all of us.

But just as the national Republican Party has often been dominated by its far-right ideologues, the Democratic Party has its share of those who advocate partisan extremism. The party activists’ unsuccessful bid to eliminate Hawaii’s open primary system, which they are still challenging; their threats to expel Democratic public officials and members who do not toe the party line; and their other ‘true believer’ rhetoric goes against everything the party has stood for since its rise to power in the 1950’s.

Rather than becoming a unifying force for the greater good of all Hawaii, the party is now divided, with many members unhappy over the abandonment of the values of inclusion espoused by party leaders like John Burns, George Ariyoshi, Dan Inouye, Patsy Mink, Spark Matsunaga, John Waihee, Ben Cayetano, Daniel Akaka and so many others.

Growing up in Kalihi, I fondly recall the Democratic Party of my youth, when it clearly championed the little guy and prioritized the needs of the working class. Everyone felt welcomed because it was all about encouraging people irrespective of their ethnicity, education, or social status to pursue the American Dream.

I believe most Americans are fed up and frustrated with the partisanship that has paralyzed Congress and many state and local governments across the nation. They’re tired of the bickering that has stymied our progress on the economy, our education system, our quality of life, our aging infrastructure, and meaningful reforms affecting everything from business to the social safety net for those whom it was intended to help–especially our seniors, to campaign reform.

Greater numbers of Americans are identifying themselves as independents. In my discussions with the Hawaii Independent Party it is clear that HIP wants to bring energy, new ideas, and creative members to help shape public policy beyond the 40-plus percent who identify themselves as Independents, but for the state as a whole.

We need to bear in mind that it is the role of elected officials to reflect the will of the people and the values that are inherent in the community. This philosophy and perspective should always supersede a political agenda. Government leaders shouldn’t rule over the people; government leaders should serve them.

If one is interested in being dominated by party politics there are lots of choices to maintain the status quo, but if your focus is putting what is best for Hawaii’s people first, the answer can be found in the clear choice that the new Hawaii Independent Party will offer. That’s the big idea behind HIP and why I am motivated and want to become part of their movement and cause.

The Washington Post: “most likely to change party control.”

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Washington Post – April 26 – Hawaii has made the official listing of governors races to watch. Incumbent Governor Neil Abercrombie is described as “unpopular.”  With your continued help and support Mufi Hannemann can win and bring true change to Hawaii.

I am officially running for governor of Hawaii

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Honolulu – April 24, 2014 – Today Mufi Hannemann officially accepted the invitation of the newly formed Independent Party of Hawaii to run for governor of Hawaii.

Press Release – 4/24/14 – Mufi Hannemann Runs for Gov 


Donate Now!

This year think independently!

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Mufi&LesBillboard contribute PLEASE MAKE YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO MUFI’S CAMPAIGN TODAY!  You may also mail a check to – The Hannemann Committee, PO Box 459 Honolulu Hawaii 96809  (Maximum Contribution is $6,000)