Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 9 primary, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.

The following came from Jeremy Kama Hopkins, one of 16 candidates for three at-large seats on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees. The six who win the most primary votes advance to the general election.

Go to Civil Beat’s Elections Guide for general information, and check out other candidates on the Primary Election Ballot.

Name: Jeremy Kama Hopkins

Office: OHA trustee at-large

Profession: Senior aide to OHA Trustee

Education: Kamehameha Schools; BYU-Hawaii; UH-Manoa

Age: 40

1. Why are you running for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs? 

I am running for OHA Trustee on a platform of service, cooperation, and aloha. I believe in OHA’s mission.

I believe servant leadership is what the Hawaiian people need right now to move us forward. You see, when Hawaiians thrive, so does the rest of Hawaii, and I want everyone to succeed. And  finally, I feel that we always need to work with aloha. If you aren’t going to do our people’s work with aloha, it just will not work.

2. What is your view regarding OHA’s efforts to build a Hawaiian nation?

OHA should remain a neutral entity and continue on its mandated mission. If there is a need for help along the way, and those putting the convention together ask for it, then OHA should help as best as it can without sacrificing needed resources to accomplish its mission.

3. What is your view on the U.S. Department of the Interior’s proposed rule-making on a government-to-government relationship?

I am supportive of hearing all options available to our people. If this helps to protect what we have, I feel our people need to be informed. If it is dangerous for our people, then we should hear that too and share our positive or negative mana‘o with those at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

4. OHA has focused on developing land holdings in order to raise revenue to help beneficiaries. Is this an appropriate avenue for OHA to pursue?

It is appropriate. OHA needs to pursue all options in raising revenue whether it be through its land assets or its financial assets. In doing its due diligence, OHA may find that developing its land may or may not be the best way to obtain increased revenue. However, without going through the the due diligence exercise, it would not know.

5. OHA’s stated purpose is to provide “opportunity for a better life and future” for all Native Hawaiians. Is it doing that? And if not, what would you do about that? 

I believe it is doing that but it needs to continue to leverage funds, look to those who are already helping to fulfill OHA’s mission. We need to partner and help others succeed. When they succeed, we all succeed.

6. Is OHA doing enough to protect the environment, improve the health of Native Hawaiians and perpetuate the culture? What ideas would you bring to OHA? 

I know OHA is doing a lot to do these things. I see it every day. I believe we can do more by seeking out organizations who are doing this and help them succeed. We cannot do it on our own. The idea I would bring is to simply increase our cooperation with those who are also lending a hand to fulfill our mission. We cannot just wait for people to come to us. We need to seek them out. That is the best way I see to leverage what we have to do the most for our people, the people we serve.

7. Are you satisfied with the way OHA has negotiated with the state over ceded-land revenues? 

At this point, it is too late to be satisfied or not with the negotiations. Now, we need to come up with a good plan that utilizes what we have. My fundamental difference with some who have commented on this issue is that I believe we should look to developing this land with a highest and best use mindset allowable by law. There are many opportunities available to us. We should explore these and make our decision. Whatever decision would help us achieve our mission is what should be done.

8. What other important issue would you like to discuss here? 

Please be engaged and vote. Your voice does make a difference.