Kai Kahele has long been familiar with politics. His family was friends with the longtime Hawaii United States Senator Daniel Akaka. Kahele's father, Gil, was a member of the Hawaii Senate.

Like Akaka and his father, Kahele is a Democrat. He's currently a member of the United States House of Representatives from the 2nd District of Hawaii. The district includes most of the state. But Kahele apparently has designs for an office that includes even more territory.

Expected to run for governor instead of re-election to Congress

Kai Kahele is reportedly not running to keep his seat in the U.S.

House of Representatives. According to Roll Call, Kahele will instead run for governor of Hawaii. The office is presently held by Democrat David Ige. However, state law prohibits Ige from seeking another consecutive term. But he could run for additional terms in the future. Ige's lieutenant governor, Josh Green, is also among the field seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Republicans in the running include former UFC star B.J. Penn.

As indicated by CNN, Kahele had recently come under scrutiny regarding his job performance. In particular, his physical absence from Congress and continued work in the private sector. The vast majority of Kahele's votes via a proxy, rather than himself in person.

His stated reasoning for his absenteeism has also gotten attention.

Typically, though not always, members of the U.S. House and Senate give up previously-held private sector jobs. However, Kahele has continued his work as an airline pilot for Hawaiian Airlines.

Kahele was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2020.

He succeeded controversial U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard in his seat. Gabbard had dropped her re-election bid to seek the Democratic Presidential nomination, unsuccessfully. Kahele is a member of the House Committee on Armed Services and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Before joining the United States Congress, Kahele was a member of the Hawaii Senate.

He was initially appointed to his Senate seat to fill the vacancy caused by the death of his father. Later in the year, he won the seat in his own right.

Kahele was re-elected to the Hawaii Senate in 2018. The following year, he became its majority floor leader and chairman of its Committee on Water and Land.

Is also a high-ranking officer in the United States Air Force

Kai Kahele is a native of Miloli'i on the Big Island of Hawaii. He would graduate from high school in nearby Hilo and afterward attend Hawai'i Community College there. Kahele eventually obtained degrees from the University of Hawai'i at Hilo and the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. At the latter, he was a member of its men's volleyball team.

He became a member of the faculty at the former.

Kahele is a member of the U.S. Air Force, currently holding the rank of lieutenant colonel. He has deployed to serve in the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. Including piloting the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III. His military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Medal.