HONOLULU – A young, native Hawaiian leader is running for Honolulu City Council.
Jacob Aki announced his candidacy for Council’s District VII Monday morning. The seat is currently held by Councilmember Joey Manahan, whose term limit expires in 2020. The district includes Kalihi, Iwilei, Kalihi Kai, Mapunapuna, Salt Lake, Aliamanu, Hickam, Foster Village, Ford Island and Sand Island.
“My identity as a Native Hawaiian has really inspired me to enter into a career of public service,” said Aki. “And really, the values that I’ve learned from my mentors and teachers have really helped me in the areas of where I can serve my community.”
The 25-year-old Kalihi native works for Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English, serves as the President of Hale ‘O Na Ali’i O Hawai’i – Halau ‘O Wahiika’ahu’ula, Vice President of the O’ahu Council of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Club and is a member of the Kalihi-Palama Neighborhood Board.
Aki believes his experience at the capitol has prepared him for city council. He explained, “Being a staffer for the Senate Majority Leader has presented a lot of opportunities to learn about different issues but also to engage on important issues affecting our communities and our state. So it’s really taking this experience and mentorship I’ve received here at the capitol and taking it to city council with the hope of making a profound impact to my community.”
His campaign will focus on homelessness, affordable housing, reducing crime and responsible development along the rail line.
“Part of the reason I’m running is because the next eight years is really going to be a crucial time for the district,” said Aki. “With the tentative completion of rail and the development of the TOD corridors along the Kalihi and Airport areas, the community is going to be facing a lot of change.”
He added, “With the average medium of a home about $785,000, we really need to find real affordable housing solutions. The district also has a high number of public housing projects, so one of the biggest things for me is ensuring that we develop where we need to develop, but also making sure we’re not pricing our residents out of their own homes.”
The general election is November 3, 2020.