Harry Kim (politician)

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For other people named Harry Kim, see Harry Kim (disambiguation).
Harry Kim
Harry Kim, Mayor of Hawaii County.jpg
Mayor of Hawaii County
In office
December 2000 – December 1, 2008
Preceded by Stephen Yamashiro
Succeeded by Billy Kenoi
Personal details
Born 1939
Keaʻau, Hawaii, Territory of Hawaii
Political party Republican Party
Spouse(s) Bobbie Kim
Alma mater University of Hawaii at Hilo
Southern Oregon University
Profession Politician, Civil defense director

Harry Kim (born 1939) served as Mayor of Hawaii County, Hawaii from 2000 to 2008 and was re-elected to the office in 2016. Hawaii County is the government of Hawaiʻi island, known as the Big Island.[1]


Kim was born in and grew up in Keaʻau.[2] He attended ʻOla'a School and Hilo High School. He then attended the University of Hawaii at Hilo and Southern Oregon University. He served in the United States Army as a medic and was a teacher and coach. Kim served for 16 years as County Director of Civil Defense. As Director, Harry Kim would go on air (radio) and would update the residents of Hawai'i.

Kim ran for Mayor in 2000 replacing Stephen K. Yamashiro,[3] limiting campaign contributions to $10. To run in the election he was required to choose a political party and opted to run as a Republican. Also on the ballot that year was a provision rendering future Hawaii County political races non-partisan. The initiative passed, and Kim then disavowed his connection to the Republicans.[4]

After defeating Republican Harvey Tajiri in the primary, Kim won the general election, receiving 50% of the vote. His opponents, Democrat Fred Holschuh and former Green Party county councilwoman Keiko Bonk received 30 and 20 percent, respectively.[citation needed]

In 2004, Kim ran for a second term, easily defeating candidates including Dominic Yagong and "cannabis sacrament" minister Roger Christie. During his time in office, Kim advocated, among other initiatives, recycling projects and the creation of a new County office complex in the place of the defunct Kaikoʻo Mall.[citation needed]

In July 2005 Kim announced he was considering running for governor as a Democrat.[4] On July 22, 2006, shortly before the filing deadline, he removed his name from consideration.[5]

In 2012, Kim ran for Mayor once more against sitting Mayor Billy Kenoi, and lost by a single percentage point.[clarification needed]

Kim said on Thursday, March 3, 2016, that he had decided to run again, this time on a campaign to restore trust in government.[6] He was elected mayor once again in primary voting on August 13, 2016, when he received more than 50% of the votes cast in a field of 13 candidates (thereby avoiding a runoff election in November). [7]


  1. ^ AsianWeek.com: National News: Korean American Sworn in as Big Island Mayor
  2. ^ "Where I'm From". Honolulu Magazine. November 2006. Retrieved November 2, 2010. 
  3. ^ "The Races to Watch: Neighbor Islands". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. September 25, 2000. Retrieved November 2, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Richard Borreca (July 8, 2005). "Kim considers running for gov as Democrat:The Big Isle mayor won his current job in 2000 as a Republican". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved November 2, 2010. 
  5. ^ Richard Borreca (July 22, 2006). "Big Isle mayor will not run: Mayor Harry Kim decides not to challenge Gov. Lingle". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved November 2, 2010. 
  6. ^ Nancy Cook Lauer (March 3, 2016). "Former Mayor Kim to run again". West Hawaii Today. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Kim Wins". Big Island Now. August 13, 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2016. 

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