The who’s who of Hawaii’s COVID-related decision makers

Statue of King Kamehameha in Honolulu. This king was the first to unite and rule the Hawaiian Islands.

While we await the details of Hawaii’s pre-travel testing program, we thought it would be a good idea to explain a little bit who the key decision makers are and their area of influence.

State Level

Let’s start at the state level where it’s straightforward. Hawaii’s top elected-officials who are developing policies to limit the spread of COVID-19 are as follows:

Governor – David Ige

Director of Health – Dr. Bruce Anderson

Director of Hawaii Emergency Management – Major General Kenneth Hara

Lieutenant Governor – Dr. Josh Green

In addition to these top officials, there are also Hawaii house of representatives as well as Hawaii senators that are elected by districts.

County Level

Quite often, Governor Ige states that he’s making decisions along with the county mayors. So, let’s address who they are and the county organization.

Hawaii has four counties. The names and organization of the counties  might not be as you expect. At least they weren’t to me when I first looked into the structure many years ago.

The four counties and their mayors are organized as follows:

Hawaii County is composed of the entire island of Hawaii, which is also known as the Big Island. The county mayor is Harry Kim. The website for Hawaii County is

Maui County is composed of the islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai. The county mayor is Michael Victorino. The website for Maui County is

City and County of Honolulu is composed of the entire island of Oahu. The county mayor is Kirk Caldwell. The website for the City and County of Honolulu is

Kauai County is composed of the entire island of Kauai. (We’re unclear if the island of Ni’ihau is included in Kauai County or not. Ni’ihau is sparsely populated, privately owned and visitors aren’t allowed to freely visit.)  The county mayor is Derek Kawakami. The website for the County of Kauai is

The county mayors are the top elected officials at the county level. They make more specific decisions for their county with the permission of Governor Ige. For example, the mayor of the City and County of Honolulu recently ordered the closure of bars for three weeks for his county. Another example is at the start of the virus spread, the mayor of Kauai ordered curfews.

While it might be easy to second guess some of the mandates that have been made, we do not envy the difficult decisions that they’ve had to make in recent months.

The post The who’s who of Hawaii’s COVID-related decision makers appeared first on Go Visit Hawaii.