Mufi Hannemann was the 12th mayor of the City and County of Honolulu, the 13th largest municipality in the United States. Following an illustrious career in business, government, and politics, he took office on January 2, 2005, Honolulu's first native-born mayor in almost 40 years.
This Harvard-educated leader and former star athlete has the distinction of having served in the administrations of four U.S. Presidents: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. Before his election, Hannemann held posts as director of Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, chief of the state's Office of International Relations, and chairman of the Honolulu City Council.
Hannemann's goals as mayor included restoring fiscal integrity and accountability at City Hall, focusing on basic public services, and improving the quality of life for all of Honolulu's citizens. The concentration on City services was directed at ensuring public safety; repairing and maintaining roads; accelerated maintenance of parks and other public facilities; improving an aging sewer system and managing solid waste and recycling; tackling traffic and transportation issues; expanding the use of computer and telecommunication technology for government services; and aggressively promoting business growth and private sector job creation.
Toward these ends, the mayor championed the planning and development of the county's first rail transit system; played a pivotal role in averting the closure of the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Hawaii's largest single industrial employer; greatly expanded public-private partnerships with business and community organizations; embarked on an aggressive, long-term program of infrastructure upgrades; accelerated parks maintenance; pursued environmental initiatives such as preserving Hanauma Bay and Waimea Valley; and stimulated the growth of culture and the arts in downtown Honolulu, in combination with the revitalization of the nearby Chinatown. Hannemann drew on his experience as a Fulbright Scholar, U.S. Department of the Interior insular affairs specialist, international relations director, and South Pacific Commissioner to build sister-city relationships and promote trade and commerce.
The City and County of Honolulu's popular bus system has been acknowledged as a transportation best practice by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, while its police force was recognized as only the second department in the nation to earn accreditation for the caliber of its law enforcement. Its fire department enjoys a similar status. The City earned recognition from the National Weather Service as storm- and tsunami-ready, received a certificate of excellence in financial reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association, and was recognized by Sustain Lane as one of the top 15 most livable cities in the United States.
Hannemann was a member of the advisory board of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and chairman of the group's standing committee on tourism, arts, parks, entertainment, and sports. Hannemann has been a long-time advocate of the sports and film industries. He was credited with saving the NFL Pro Bowl for Hawaii and for luring several film projects to the state. Hannemann is the founder-chairman of the Pacific Century Fellows, patterned after the prestigious White House Fellows, for which he was selected to serve under then-Vice President George Bush.