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The Conversation: Candidates for Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District

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Interviews with the top candidates for Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District, which covers the Neighbor Islands and Oahu outside of Honolulu; Tulsi Gabbard joins Army Reserve in California

Credit Courtesy Kai Kahele
Kai Kahele

  Kai Kahele, Democratic candidate for Congressional District 2

Kahele overwhelmingly won the Democratic Party's primary by garnering 66 percent of the vote and who announced very early on that he had sights set on the seat in our nation's Capitol. Today Democratic Presidentail nominee Joe Biden announced his endorsement for Kai. He has raised several times more money for this race than all other candidates combined. To date, Kahele has raised more than $1 million, while his next closest competitor, Republican Joe Akana, has raised $44,000. Kahele has been a state senator since 2016, when Gov. David Ige appointed him to replace a seat vacated by his late father. Voters elected him later that year and re-elected him in 2018. Click here to visit Kai Kahele's campaign website.

Kai Kahele, Democratic candidate for Congress (HI-D2)

Joe Akana, Republican candidate for Congressional District 2

Joe Akana beat out eight other GOP challengers to win the Republican primary iin August. You may have seen him on the road campaigning in his red RV, affectionately dubbed "Clifford." He's a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and served 10 years as an Intelligence Analyst in the U.S. Air Force. He received his bachelor's degree in human resources management and an MBA from Hawaii Pacific University. Akana retired from federal civil service before turning his attention to politics. Click here to visit Joe Akana's campaign website.

Joe Akana, Republican candidate for Congress (HI-D2)

Credit Courtesy Jonathan Hoomanawanui
Jonathan Hoomanawanui

Jonathan Hoomanawanui, Aloha Aina candidate for Congressional District 2

Jonathan Hoomanwanui is a member of Hawaii's Aloha Aina Party. It was formed in 2015 and promotes traditional Hawaiian values. It also advocates for better transparency and accountability among Hawaii's elected officials. An Army veteran and former football coach, Hoomanawanui identifies education, veteran care and COVID-19 relief as some of the key issues Hawaii currently faces. Click here to visit Jonathan Hoomanwanui's campaign website.

Jonathan Hoomanawanui, Aloha Aina Party candidate for Congress (HI-D2)

Credit John Minchillo/AP

Tulsi Gabbard joins Army Reserve in California

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is no longer a part-time soldier with the Hawaii Army National Guard. Instead, she's a major in the U.S. Army Reserve at a command post in Silicon Valley. Civil Beat Reporter Nick Grube gives us the latest news on Hawaii's Congresswoman, who is not running for re-election. Click here to read his story at

Civil Beat Reporter Nick Grube

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Lillian Tsang is the senior producer of The Conversation. She has been part of the talk show team since it first aired in 2011. Contact her at
Jason Ubay is a news editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Send your story ideas to him at
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