It should surprise no one that County of Maui Managing Director Keith Regan is running for office. On Friday, June 5, Regan’s wife Lynn Araki-Regan sent out a press release stating that next year her husband would run for the Wailuku County Council seat. That seat’s currently held by Mike Victorino, but term limits bar him from running again in 2016 (which, just to be clear, is nearly a year and a half away).
“Serving the people of Maui County has always been a passion of mine,” Regan said in the news release. “I enjoy working with the public, dealing with a broad range of complex issues, and developing solutions that are both sensible and achievable. My experience as a public administrator has provided me with skills that I believe will be complimentary and beneficial to the legislative process.”
Regan’s spent more than seven years as Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa’s Managing Director. His campaign bio highlights all the big names–national and local–that you’d expect from someone who wants public office: master’s degree in public administration from USC; president of the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui; board member of the Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation, American Heart Association of Maui, Haleakala Waldorf, Maui Young Business Roundtable and the Tri-Isle Resource Conservation and Development Council. He’s a Cub Scout leader and has in the past held office with the Kiwanis Club of Kahului.
Now the job of county Managing Director is a curious one. Less than a Chief Executive Officer who reports directly to the County Council but more than a mere vice mayor, Regan “supervises and evaluates the management and performance of all line executive departments and agencies,” according to the official county website. The Managing Director also helps the mayor in “supervising and coordinating” the annual county operating budget and capital improvement budget.
Of course, none of that instantly translates into popular election success. But in the past few years especially, Regan’s face has popped up in the media in a number of instances that don’t really have anything to do with supervising agencies or the county’s budget:
- In January 2013 he got some press for removing a time capsule from the old Wailuku Post Office during its now-controversial demolition;
- In the spring of 2014, he signed the law banning smoking on county beaches because Arakawa was in South Korea;
- He walked back Arakawa’s January 2015 comment that a monorail was “being quietly considered for the county,” saying later in The Maui News that “The mayor means that we need to look into the future” and that “This isn’t an active county project by any means;”
- In February 2015, he called together everyone who had ever made The Maui News’ annual “People Who Made a Difference” list (which he did in 2011) for a “brainstorming session” one afternoon in the Mayor’s Lounge;
- Stood in for Arakawa in late March 2015 when the County Committee on the Status of Women presented its annual “Women of Excellence Awards;”
- Appeared with Arakawa on May 21 of this year for the ground-breaking of Hospice Maui’s new facility in Kahului.
- Is right now taking a delegation of county officials to a public power conference in Minnesota, according to this Pacific Business News post from June 8.
Herman Andaya, Arakawa’s Chief of Staff, is serving as Regan’s campaign manager. Regan is the latest in a series of Arakawa aides who’ve run for the Maui County Council. In 2014, aides Mike Molina and Joe Pontanilla (both former Councilmembers) lost their races against current Councilmembers Mike White and Don Guzman, respectively. But in 2010, former Arakawa aide Don Couch did succeed in ousting embattled South Maui Councilmember Wayne Nishiki.
For more information, check out Regan’s new campaign website at Regan2016.com.
Photo courtesy Lynn Araki-Regan