Eduardo Enabore Malapit (April 6, 1933 – August 27, 2007) was an American Democratic politician who served as Mayor of Kauai, Hawaii. Malapit, who was elected for four consecutive two-year terms as mayor of Kauai beginning in 1974, holds the distinction of being the first Filipino American mayor of any United States municipality. He was widely respected in Kauai and throughout Hawaii for his belief in community service, and was known as "Mala" by friends and constituents.
Eduardo Malapit was born in Kauai on April 6, 1933. He was raised in the town of Hanapepe. Malapit's father and mother, Eusebio and Leonila Malapit, owned the Hanapepe Pool Hall during the 1960s. He often worked as a shoeshiner in front of his parents' business. Malapit attended Waimea High School in Kauai, where he played football.
Malapit obtained a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Hawaii. He went on to receive a jurisprudence degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 1962. He worked as a public prosecutor after graduation.
Malapit was elected as Mayor of Kauai in 1974, becoming the first mayor of Filipino American descent in the United States. Malapit served as mayor for four consecutive two-year terms (total of 8 years) from 1974 until 1982. According to news reports, Malapit kept a pair of firefighting boots hidden behind a curtain in his office while mayor in order to respond quickly to emergencies.
Malapit oversaw a development boom, as well as difficult periods, while mayor of Kauai. Malapit is often credited with improving and updating Kauai's infrastructure during his tenure as mayor. Under his authority, Kauai's public parks were renovated. Brand new community centers, police stations, fire stations, sewage treatment plants, and garbage transfer stations were built on the island. However, Malapit's term as mayor also coincided with the Nukoli'i development, which caused an island-wide controversy. Malapit's own mayoral office was heavily damaged by a pipe bomb. It is believed that Malapit was targeted because of the Nukoli'i development. The perpetrators of the bombing were never captured and are still at large.
Malapit left the mayor's office in 1982. His next post as a public official was the chairman of the Hawaii state Board of Labor and Industrial Relations. Malapit held that post from 1983 to 1987.
Malapit was known in Kauai for his leadership in community service. He held the positions of president and legal adviser for the Kauai Pop Warner football league. He also served as president of the West Kauai Jaycees. Malapit also worked with a number of other sports related organizations including the Koloa Youth Baseball Organization.
Additionally, Malapit served as president of the Koloa school PTA and the Koloa Lions Club. He worked as the director of the Hawaii Visitors Bureau, a statewide position. A practicing Roman Catholic, Malapit was appointed to the Kauai Catholic Vicariate board which advises the Bishop on issues facing local Kauai Catholic schools. Malapit was also active on the Kauai Filipino Community Council.
Eduardo Malapit died on Monday, August 27, 2007 at Wilcox Memorial Hospital in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii. He was 74 years old. Malapit was survived by his wife, Elizabeth, to whom he had been married for 45 years, and four sons, Kevin, Lon, Kent and Lyle.
U.S. Representative Mazie Hirono (D-HI) commented on Malapit's life, "He was my friend and supporter. He was a colorful and humble man who had a great sense of loyalty and friendship. I will certainly miss Mala." Malapit had supported Hirono during her successful run for Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii in 1994.
- Bernardo, Rosemarie (2007-08-29). "Former Kauai mayor saw development boom on isle". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2007-09-05.
- "Former Mayor Eduardo Malapit dies at 74". The Garden Island. 2007-08-28. Retrieved 2007-09-05.
- "Nation's first Filipino mayor dies in Hawaii". Honolulu Advertiser. 2007-08-29. Retrieved 2007-09-05.