2012 Candidate for U.S. Representative District 1
1. Do you believe that the United States government should formally acknowledge the special legal and political status of Native Hawaiians, as it has done for Native American and Alaska Native Groups?
If so, what would you do to secure such ackowledgment for Native Hawaiians? If not, why not?
Yes. I will and have sponsored legislation to do so and will urge my congressional colleagues to support it. I am also aware that legislation may not be the only avenue and I support efforts for court and administrative process proceedings.
2. What are some examples of actions that you have personally taken to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians?
As a former state senator that represented Wai‘anae, I presided over the committee with jurisdiction over Hawaiian affairs. I am keenly aware of the challenges/issues that face Native Hawaiians. Born and raised in Wai‘anae, I count many Native Hawaiians as my lifelong friends.Consequently, I have dedicated my political career to championing Native Hawaiians’ issues by facilitating economic development/higher education in West O‘ahu to provide job/educational opportunities, ensuring adequate funding is provided for HHL development, and supporting federal legislation that promotes self-governance and the Native Hawaiian agenda. Moreover, I chose as my House subcommittee Indian and Alaskan Native Affairs (IANA) to ensure that I can participate in Native Hawaiians’ issues.
3. How would you address the challenges of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Act and the Native Hawaiian Education Act?
I am committed to supporting these programs. Reauthorization is critical. Educating my congressional colleagues is key to ensuring that these acts are reauthorized. My strategy will be to educate them on the unique circumstances that surround the need for these acts and how these acts are not “race-based” legislation.
The opinions expressed here are those of the candidate and do not represent the views of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.