About Kai

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Senator Kaialiʻi Kahele (Kai) is a native hawaiian from Hilo, Hawaiʻi. The son of the late Senator Gilbert Kahele, Kai was appointed to the 1st Senatorial District representing Hilo on February 17th 2016 by Governor David Ige.

A 1992 graduate of Hilo High School, Kai pursued his higher education at Hawaiʻi Community College, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and received his BS in Education from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 1998.

Inspired by chance encounters in 1985 with Hawaiʻi Astronaut Ellison Onizuka and Hokuleʻa navigator Mau Piailug, Kai pursued a career in aviation and is an accomplished civilian and decorated military pilot. An Airbus 330 First Officer with Hawaiian Airlines, Kai is a volunteer member of the Hawaiian Airlines “Aviators For Education” program which visits local Hawaiʻi schools and career fairs to promote careers in aviation.

Hoku 4060

An adjunct faculty member at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Kai has been a driving force behind the creation of a professional pilot collegiate aviation program at UH-Hilo.

Kai is also the former President and Executive Director of Paʻa Pono Miloliʻi a native hawaiian non-profit that works with under privileged children in the rural hawaiian fishing village of Miloliʻi in South Kona. The non-profit focuses on coastal marine conservation and education and perpetuating traditional hawaiian cultural practices.


Kai is married to Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant Maria Day and they reside in Hilo with daughters ʻAleʻaokalani, ʻIolana & Nāmakaokahaʻi.