Two months after winning a landslide victory for a second term as mayor of Honolulu City and County, former Honolulu Hawaii West Stake high councilor Mufi Hannemann was sworn in by Judge Bode A. Uale, president of the Honolulu Hawaii Stake on Friday, Jan. 2.
Brother Hannemann and President Uale are making their mark in U.S. history. Brother Hannemann is the first Samoan American to be elected mayor of a major U.S. city and President Uale is the first family court judge appointed in the U.S. who is of Samoan ancestry. Coincidentally, the two are relatives with roots stemming from American Samoa.
"It was only appropriate that Judge Bode Uale swore Mufi into office because both are great leaders ecclesiastically and politically," said the mayor's older brother Gus Hannemann, who is a liaison consultant for the Senate of the Government of American Samoa. He is also a former bishop of the Moanalua Ward, Honolulu Hawaii Stake.
Despite juggling a grueling schedule, Mayor Hannemann remains active in his Church callings, serving as a teacher in his ward's high priests group. He is used to pioneering and excelling above and beyond his call of duty in Church, academics and politics.
He was the first Samoan American to graduate from Harvard University and the first White House Fellow under the Reagan Administration.
The Honolulu resident was born in 1954 as Muliufi "Mufi" Francis Hannemann. He was the sixth of seven children of Samoan-German-English immigrants Gustav and Faiaso Hannemann. His parents labored as missionaries in American Samoa, his father served as branch president on Guam, and the couple eventually migrated to Honolulu, where Gustav Hannemann served as bishop of the Moanalua Ward and a high councilor in the old Pearl Harbor Stake in the mid-1960s.
At Mayor Hannemann's swearing-in ceremony held at Kapolei Hale, located in a relatively new area that is garnering the reputation of being the second city of Honolulu, the mayor honored his parents, family and friends with the hymn "Love at Home" sung in Samoan by five local LDS pop singers.
The hymn is a personal favorite of the mayor's. He said, "This song meant a lot to my mother, and I grew up waking up to it every morning. It was a song my family sang before bedtime and our nightly prayers. Although my parents are no longer with us, there is no doubt in my mind they were present at that very moment," said Mayor Hannemann.
Due to the mayor's LDS upbringing, the Hannemann clan's theme of "family first" echoes throughout city hall. The mayor also publicly thanked his Heavenly Father for his most recent accolade and credited his wife, Gail Mukaihata Hannemann, for the success of his professional career. Mayor Hannemann also recognized his wife's family and the rest of the Hannemanns for their unending devotion and support.
Sister Hannemann serves as CEO of the Girl Scouts Council of Hawaii. She first met her husband on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., where she worked as a congressional aide and professional staff member of the U.S. House of Representatives for more than 15 years.
At his inauguration held at the Hawaii Theatre in Honolulu and attended by nearly 1,500 people, Mayor Hannemann told the standing-room-only crowd, "I'm reminded again of the hard work and sacrifices that my father and mother, Gustav and Faiaso, made for their children. Like you, I am eternally grateful for being blessed with loving parents who provided me with an opportunity to pursue my hopes and dreams."
The program was capped off by a concert that featured local entertainers, including Cecilio & Kapono, who were joined by the mayor singing "Here with You," one of two musical selections Mayor Hannemann performed during inaugural celebrations.
He has spent most of his career in public service and a great bulk on Capitol Hill, having served in the administrations of four U.S. presidents: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
In the state of Hawaii, prior to his first term as mayor, he held posts as director of Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; chief of the state's Office of International Relations; and chairman of the Honolulu City Council.
In the private sector, he was a corporate executive with one of Hawaii's oldest and largest agribusinesses, he created and operated his own business consulting firm and nonprofit organization, and he was an educator and coach at Iolani School, his high school alma mater.
He took office for his first term as mayor on Jan. 2, 2005, becoming Honolulu's first native-born mayor in four decades.