2012 Candidate for U.S. Senate
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?
I am committed to federal recognition for Native Hawaiians. I personally traveled to Washington, D.C., to attract bipartisan senatorial support by convincing Senators to hold hearings on the 2005 Akaka bill. In committee hearings I testified in support of the bill. If elected, I commit to working with Hawai‘i’s congressional delegation and all members to ensure the passage of legislation formally recognizing Native Hawaiians.
2. What are some examples of actions that you have personally taken to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians?
As governor I authorized payments totaling $2.8 million to OHA and directed the immediate recommencement of approximately $12.3 million in total revenue payments due to OHA. In 2008, my administration and OHA negotiated a $200 million settlement for ceded lands receipts from 1978 to 2008. The state Legislature recently enacted a version of my plan. Additionally, my administration, through DHHL, awarded nearly 2,500 homestead leases to Native Hawaiians.
3. How would you address the challenges of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Act and the Native Hawaiian Education Act?
I will work in a bipartisan fashion as I did as governor when I obtained support for versions of the Akaka bill, to not only preserve these programs, but also build on the successful partnerships I created as governor by exploring opportunities for federal funding in new areas, like homeownership (HOAP partnership), education (Ali‘i Trusts partnership), health care (Queen’s Medical Center), kupuna care (Lunalilo Homes partnership) and governance (OHA).
The opinions expressed here are those of the candidate and do not represent the views of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.