Mufi Hannemann

Mufi Hannemann
Mufi Hannemann
12th Mayor of City and County of Honolulu
In office
January 2, 2005 – July 20, 2010
Preceded by Jeremy Harris
Succeeded by Kirk Caldwell
Personal details
Born July 16, 1954 (1954-07-16) (age 57)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Gail Mukaihata Hannemann
Religion Mormon

Muliufi Francis "Mufi" Hannemann (born July 16, 1954) is an American politician. He is the former Mayor of Honolulu. Hannemann has served as a special assistant in Washington, D.C., with the Department of the Interior, where he was selected for a White House fellowship in the Reagan administration under Vice President George H. W. Bush. He also served as chairman of the Honolulu City Council. He is the first person of Samoan descent and the second member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve as Mayor of Honolulu (Neal S. Blaisdell was the first).

On August 30, 2011, Hannemann announced his intention to run for Hawaii's 2nd Congressional district seat in the 2012 U.S. House elections.[1]


Early life, education and career

Muliufi Francis Hannemann was raised in the Honolulu community of Kalihi by his German father, Gustav Apiz Hannemann, and Samoan mother, Faiaso Hannemann. He attended Fern, Pu`uhale and Kalihi Kai elementary schools up to the seventh grade before being accepted to the ʻIolani School with a scholarship. He graduated with honors and competed in basketball and American football. In the fall of 1972, Hannemann left the Hawaiian Islands to attend Harvard University where he was elected freshman class president and was varsity basketball letterman. Upon graduation from Harvard in 1976 Hannemann continued his studies as a Fulbright Scholar at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.[2] He returned to Honolulu after his studies to become an educator at his alma mater, Iolani School. He was a history teacher and basketball coach.

Public service career

After his teaching career, Hannemann entered government service as a special assistant to President Jimmy Carter, working with the United States Department of the Interior. Hannemann was recalled to Honolulu to become special assistant to Governor of Hawaiʻi George Ariyoshi before returning to the White House to serve as staff assistant to Vice President George H. W. Bush.

After a brief stint as President and General Manager of Punaluu Sweetbread Shop and C. Brewer Hawaiian Juices, in 1984 Hannemann was promoted Vice President for Corporate Marketing and Public Affairs for the parent company, C. Brewer and Company, Ltd.

In 1986, Hannemann ran for the First District U.S. House seat vacated by Cecil Heftel, who sought the governorship that year. Hannemann won the Democratic primary election but lost the special election to fill Heftel's unexpired term to Neil Abercrombie. He again lost in the general election to Republican candidate Pat Saiki. In 1990, he ran for Congress again, this time for the Second District seat vacated by Daniel Akaka, who was eventually elected to the U.S. Senate. He lost the Democratic primary to Patsy Mink, who eventually won the seat.

However, Hannemann would again be tapped for government service in 1991, appointed by Governor John D. Waihee III as Chairman of the Hawaii Pro Bowl Host Committee, Chairman of the Task Force on Homeporting, Director of the Hawaii Office of International Relations and Director of the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Having directed various state agencies of the Government of Hawaii, Hannemann was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve at the federal level once again as United States Representative to the South Pacific Commission.

In 1994, Hannemann was elected to the Honolulu City Council representing Aiea and Pearl City, and in 1996 he founded the Pacific Century Fellows Program[3] modeled after the White House Fellows Program. He was re-elected to his seat in 1998. He served as Council Chairman from 1998 to 1999. Differences in opinion with then-Mayor Jeremy Harris led to his resignation from the Council in 2000 to run against Harris. Harris won re-election in the September 2000 non-partisan election with enough votes to avoid a run-off that November.

In the administration of President George W. Bush, Hannemann served in the United States Department of Labor as a member of the President's Council on the 21st Century Workforce.

Mayor of Honolulu

In 2004 Hannemann again ran for Mayor, this time to replace Harris, who was unable to seek a third full term as Mayor due to term limits. His opponent was former City Council colleague Duke Bainum. The race was considered one of the most expensive and fiercest races, with both candidates sharply criticizing the other's stands and character. Bainum received the most votes in the September election, but failed to receive the necessary majority to avoid a run-off against Hannemann. In November, Hannemann narrowly won the election with a margin of about 1,300 votes out of nearly 300,000 cast.

Hannemann was sworn in as mayor on January 2, 2005. In his first State of the City address, Hannemann pledged to concentrate on fiscal restraint and basic city services, claiming a contrast between himself and his predecessor. One of his major accomplishments as mayor was overseeing the planning for the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project, which will provide a rail transit system for Honolulu. The project eventually became a major issue when Hannemann came up for reelection in 2008, with his odds of success tied to public perception of it.[4]

He is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition,[5] an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston mayor Thomas Menino. He currently serves as the Chair of the Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment, and Sports Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.[6]

Hannemann was longlisted for the 2008 World Mayor award.[7]

In 2009, Hannemann was sworn into his second term as mayor of Honolulu by Bode Uale.

2010 Hawaii gubernatorial campaign

On July 20, 2010, Hannemann resigned his position as mayor to compete in the 2010 Hawaii gubernatorial election. City Managing Director Kirk Caldwell assumed the position of interim mayor until a special election was held to determine a permanent replacement.[8][9] On September 18, 2010 Hannemann lost the Democratic primary to Neil Abercrombie by approximately twenty one percentage points.[10][11]

2012 U.S. House campaign

Hannemann announced his intention to run for Hawaii's 2nd Congressional district seat on August 30, 2011. The incumbent, Mazie Hirono, is vacating the seat to run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Daniel Akaka, who is retiring and not running for reelection in 2012.[1][12]

Personal life

His brother Nephi Hannemann is a well known Polynesian actor and singer.[13]


  1. ^ a b Kerr, Keoki (August 30, 2011). "Hannemann Runs For Congress". Hearst Television Inc.. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  2. ^ "Personal Mufi Hannemann for Governor | For All of Us". 1954-07-16. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  3. ^ "Twelfth Pacific Century Fellows Class Selected". Pacific Century Fellows. 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  4. ^ Carlson, Ragnar (September 3, 2008). "Hail to the chief". Honolulu Weekly. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  5. ^ "Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Coalition Members". Archived from the original on 2007-03-06. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Conference of Mayors, 75th Annual Meeting Draft Agenda". Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  7. ^ vom Hove, Tann. "Mayors from 50 cities competed for the 2008 World Mayor Prize". City Mayors. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  8. ^ DePledge, Derrick (July 21, 2010). "Off and running". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  9. ^ Reyes, B.J. (July 21, 2010). "Special election needed for mayor". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  10. ^ State of Hawaii Office of Elections (September 19, 2010). "Primary Election 2010 Statewide Summary Report". Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  11. ^ DePledge, Derrick (September 20, 2010). "Abercrombie takes all but 4 of 51 districts". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  12. ^ LaFrance, Adrienne (August 30, 2011). "Mufi Hannemann Running for Congress". Honolulu Civil Beat (Peer News LLC). Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  13. ^ The Deseret News - Sep 15, 1973 Hawaiian singer cast in Disney movie

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Jeremy Harris
Mayor of Honolulu
January 2, 2005 - July 20, 2010
Succeeded by
Kirk Caldwell

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