At least 5 seek to succeed Djou Djou welcomed in Congress
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Staff Writer
At least five East Honolulu residents have put themselves forward as candidates to serve the remaining seven months of the City Council term of Charles Djou, who was sworn in as Hawai'i's newest congressman yesterday.
Four of the five say they intend to only serve out the current term and won't run for the seat in the fall, which is also the preference of Djou and Council Chairman Todd Apo.
Djou represented Council District 4, which runs from Hawai'i Kai to Ala Moana.
The City Council has 30 days from Djou's resignation yesterday to select a temporary replacement, or the choice will be up to the mayor.
Apo announced Monday that his office will take candidate applications for the seat through June 1 and that there will likely be a vote on a successor at the June 9 meeting.
The person selected will hold the office until Jan. 2, when the winner of the fall election is sworn in.
Apo yesterday declined to say who has expressed interest so far, or even how many people.
But several people have made their feelings known to council members, the media or both.
They are, alphabetically:
• Jo-Ann Adams, an estate and probate attorney. She is a member of the Waikīkī Neighborhood Board and has been active in lobbying for civil unions.
• Francis M. "Scotty" Anderson, chairman of the Wai'alae-Kāhala Neighborhood Board and chairman of the state Contractors Licensing Board.
• Jonathan Lai, a partner in the law firm Watanabe Ing LLC, as well as a close friend and Punahou School classmate of Djou's.
• Jeremy Low, a laid-off state research analyst.
• Lori Wingard, chief of staff to Djou for five of his seven years on the council. She currently works for a science technology company.
Lai, who attended the University of Southern California law school about the same time as Djou was there, got something of a boost from the former incumbent Monday. When Djou was asked during his farewell press conference who he was endorsing, the congressman-elect said he would leave it up to his former colleagues, but then mentioned that his good friend Lai is interested.
Several council members said Djou asked them to consider Lai as a possible successor.
Djou said he would prefer that the person appointed not run for the seat in the fall. Apo said he agreed, but said the council is not barred from choosing someone who intends to run in the fall.
Historically, the council has picked temporary successors who agreed not to be candidates. In 2003, Rene Mansho was replaced by Darrlyn Bunda. In 1994, Boyd Andrade and Audrey Hidano were picked to fill out the terms of Arnold Morgado and Gary Gill, respectively.
Of the five known candidates for the temporary seat now up for grabs, only Low has said he intends to run for the full four-year term in September. Adams, Anderson and Lai said they definitely would not seek the seat in September. Wingard said she has no intention of running for the seat in the fall, but would be open to that if there were support for her candidacy.
This fall's Council District 4 race so far has three candidates: Low and attorneys Stanley Chang and Richard Turbin.
The last day for filing to run for the seat is July 20.
Chang and Turbin said last night they agree with the philosophy that no fall candidate should take the temporary post.