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Kelly Takaya King Endorses Richard Bissen for Mayor of Maui County

Statement of Endorsement Kelly T. King, Oct. 18, 2022

As you all know, I got into the mayoral race on the urging of many folks who wanted a different, more visionary choice for Maui’s next top administrator. That urging, and my entry into the race, was late in the election cycle, but we worked hard to get our message out. I stood for this office because so many residents feel the dire need for more transparency, collaboration and efficiency in our county government than we’ve had in these past years.

I want to thank my campaign manager, Michelle Del Rosario, our thousands of supporters, my fellow candidates for mayor, and the organizers of the many forums that included my candidacy, for the opportunity to offer my views and bring my goals and vision to the table.

As disappointing as it was to come in third in the Primary Race, I remain hopeful for the future of Maui Nui. While I wrestled with the results, and whether or not to even make a public endorsement, I now am confident that the best candidate to lead our county for the next 4 years is Richard Bissen!

Since the Primary Election, I have had direct meetings and honest, open discussions with Mr. Bissen. Our meetings were not transactional, in that neither of us were seeking a “deal”. We approached our conversations with mutual respect, and talked about past practices, good and bad, as well as future opportunities to make county government better. I was surprised at how many issues we agreed on, including the folly of fighting the Lahaina Injection Well lawsuit rather than putting that $4million into clean water solutions, the need for more qualified, non-political director appointments, and the importance of reassigning executive administrative positions to create better efficiency in government and truly serve the public, especially when it comes to permitting and grant awards.

Judge Bissen and I also talked about the need for real collaboration between the Administration and the County Council, and ways to achieve transparency in government spending, as well as the value of listening to the input of experts in our own county. I was impressed that he has learned so much from meeting with individuals, non-profit organizations and various sectors of our economy, including local farmers and advocates for the unsheltered.

As I said, we made no “deals” – I am not seeking a county job and he was not asking for an endorsement. I offered my assistance as a volunteer wherever I might be helpful, especially in the transition should he be elected Mayor. I came away from our meetings with real hope that Richard Bissen will bring vision and practicality to our county government, and that he will continue to listen honestly to community input and be respectful and collaborative in his responses.

At this time, I offer my public endorsement of Richard Bissen for Mayor, and I urge my supporters to vote for him in the General Election. I truly believe Maui Nui will be best served with Rick Bissen as our next top Administrator.

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