While others are gearing up for the approaching election season, former Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle says he has no plans to re-enter the polls – but don’t rule it out completely just yet.
“This upcoming year, I have no interest in anything that’s up,” he says, “if I did go back to politics, I would probably look first at the Mayor’s office.”
Carlisle, who appeared on MidWeek‘s Jan. 1, 1997 cover as the city’s third elected prosecuting attorney, says he was able to accomplish “all sorts of good things” while mayor.
“One of the things that I was most pleased about was bending the debt curve downward,” he says. “That, right now, not only needs to be done in Honolulu, but in Hawaii and on the Mainland, and Washington, D.C., in particular.”
For the time being, he has returned to law as a partner with O’Connor Playdon & Guben LLP. His focus is on fostering international relationships and business opportunities between Hawaii and the Mainland and Asia. Carlisle also takes on a variety of different cases.
“What’s really fun about this firm is that we have a great deal of expertise in a variety of different fields, he says. “If I bring in a particular case and it involves something that I don’t know enough about to be comfortable taking it myself, I will pass it on to one of the attorneys here, and these guys are absolutely fantastic.
“I get to learn a whole lot very quickly about subjects that I knew very little about before I came here, which is fun and sort of stimulates an old man’s brain.”
His international relationships recently allowed him to travel to Bruyeres, France, for a memorial service recognizing the 442nd Infantry Regiment and its efforts in liberating the city in World War II. Carlisle, who is an honorary citizen of Hiroshima, also visited that city for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, and renewed relationships with the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagaoka.
“Both of them were kind enough to say that I should feel as a citizen of both cities, and I should come back as a welcome friend,” he says.
This year, he will continue to travel, though it won’t be for the firm. He and wife Judy will visit their lands of hereditary origin, with plans to visit Germany, Ireland and England.
Carlisle’s break from politics also has allowed him to return to fitness. “I’m actually doing a lot more exercising than I did before, and I started to try to play basketball again,” he says. “That part is also good for the mind, good for the body.”