Kim: Travis the right man for the job

  • Thomas Travis. Courtesy of state Department of Defense.

Mayor Harry Kim thinks Gov. David Ige made the right call by appointing former Hawaii Island resident Thomas Travis to lead the beleaguered Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

After all, he recommended him for the job.

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“He’s a professional,” Kim said about the retired U.S. Navy captain. “He’s respected so highly on the federal level.”

Travis, who lived in Kapoho from 2011-16, appears to have a resume to back that up.

In addition to leading a submarine squadron, he was director of the Maritime Battle Center and was a major contributing author and lead editor for foundation reports on Operation Iraqi Freedom and the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, according to his resume and a state Department of Defense press release.

Most recently living in Arizona, he started as HEMA’s new administrator Friday.

He replaces Brig. Gen. Moses Kaoiwi Jr., the interim administrator, who took over following the false missile alert in January. Kaoiwi will remain in an interim role to help with the transition, according to DOD.

While in Kapoho, Travis became president of Puna Pono Alliance, which has sought to improve monitoring of Puna Geothermal Venture. The group also has been opposed to adding more geothermal power in Puna.

Still, Travis had the respect of Hawaii Electric Light Co. and others who sought to expand geothermal, Kim said.

“He’s just a gentleman,” he said. “He’s smart; he’s not abusive in anyway. That’s why HELCO liked him.”

A voice message left on Travis’ cellphone wasn’t returned by press time Friday.

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He was selected from a pool of 10 candidates, according to DOD.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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