Tulsi Gabbard

2012 Candidate for U.S. Representative District 2Representative District 2Representative District 2


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 believe the U.S. government through an act of Congress should more formally recognize the special legal/political status of Native Hawaiians.  Pending reorganization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity, through the process commenced by Act 195 (2011) or a Native Hawaiian-driven process, I would immediately work with the delegation to pass a bill or administrative regulation acknowledging this status, without the government building components that would be difficult to pass at this time.

2. What are some examples of actions that you have personally taken to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians?

In 2006, I served as volunteer coordinator for Senator Akaka’s re-election campaign. I was then invited to work with him in Washington, D.C.   I assisted Senator Akaka with programs and legislation directly benefiting Native Hawaiians. Specific efforts included supporting Native Hawaiian 8(a) businesses, and working with Senator Akaka to introduce the Kalaupapa Memorial Act, which passed as part of the Omnibus Public Lands Act of 2009.

3. How would you address the challenges of the Native Hawaiian Health Care Act and the Native Hawaiian Education Act?

Formal recognition of Indian Commerce Clause status of Native Hawaiians would help reauthorization of these important acts.  Additionally, tying such reauthorizations to Native Alaskan health and education acts is good strategy because Republican Don Young of Alaska needs Democratic support.  Mazie Hirono successfully used this strategy in 2011 to obtain reauthorization of $41 million in education funds for Native Hawaiians.

The opinions expressed here are those of the candidate and do not represent the views of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

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