A Look at Honolulu City Council Member – Brandon J.C. Elefante

Brandon J.C. Elefante

By: J. S.

Brandon J.C. Elefante is the non-partisan Honolulu City Councilmember for District 8. He is serving his second consecutive term in the City Council after winning the 2018 election against non-partisan rival Kelly Puamailani Kitashima. He is the Chair of the Committee on Zoning and Planning and Vice Chair of the Committee on Transportation, Sustainability, and Health.

In 2014 he won the seat against three other candidates, winning the majority vote in the district 8 primary. Because of his majority win with 47% of the vote that year, the General Election was called off. Elefante will serve on the City Council until his term ends in 2022. City Council members are allowed to serve two consecutive terms. As such, Elefante will not be up for re-election.

District 8 in central Oahu is comprised of Lower Aiea, Pearlridge, Waimalu, Newtown, Pearl City, Seaview, Crestview, Waipio Gentry and Waipahu. Elefante is a lifelong resident of Pearl City and ‘Aiea communities, having graduated from ‘Aiea High School.

Elefante holds a bachelor’s degree of Science in Economics and Business Administration from Saint Mary’s College of California. He holds an MBA from Chaminade University of Honolulu. Elefante states on his website that he became active in the Hawaii community and public service during college, which led him to work as a legislative aid for Honolulu City Councilmember Breene Harimoto from 2011 to 2014. He has also worked as a teacher and coach at Damien Memorial School and a staff assistant in the Hawai‘i State Senate to Senator Will Espero.

During his time as a legislative aid, Elefante assisted the Councilmember with tracking and following infrastructure and development projects, as well as handling constituent issues for the ‘Aiea, Pearl City, and Waipahu communities.

Elefante lists several of his priorities for Honolulu and District 8. Safety, transportation, infrastructure, sustainability, revitalization, more housing, and homelessness all make his list.

Regarding affordable housing, Elefante has stated that he is in support of policies encouraging more affordable housing. He is in support of continued development of the Honolulu Rail Transit Project, believing the city will have an opportunity to create zoning around the rail stations to meet the needs of working-class families, seniors, and young professionals.

Like the rest of Honolulu, District 8 struggles with homelessness. Elefante is not in support of the sit-lie ban that he feels makes homelessness a crime. He supports the “Housing First” program adopted successfully in other cities. In Hawaii this is an initiative to emphasize permanent housing placement for people experiencing homelessness.

Regarding transportation, he supports additional transportation models beyond the Honolulu Rail project. He supports the expansion of walkability in neighborhoods, bike infrastructure, expanded and refined bus routes and rideshare options.  His district is slated to have five stops along the Honolulu Transit line.

With safety as one of the Council member’s top priorities, Elefante has stated his support for Hawaii’s first responders. He has stated that he “will continue to ensure that they receive the quality training and the resources they need to help them prepare and perform their jobs well.” 

Elefante was one of four City Council members to endorse Mayor Kirk Caldwell. He was quoted as saying “I am supporting the mayor because I want to see him finish the projects he has started and the new projects he’s proposing.” Elefante went on to say that “I’m also supporting him because of his cabinet members. The intelligence, the knowledge, and the caliber of the department heads on his team are phenomenal. That is what I appreciate, as well as the mayor’s vision for the future.”