Generally on a Monday, at least twice a month, you’d find Zuri Aki’s column on our site.

For the past five months, Zuri has written about issues that are important to his generation — the environment, land development, technology, among others.

More recently, as a young Native Hawaiian concerned with the often-polarizing move toward federal recognition, Zuri was a delegate to the recently concluded Nai Aupuni aha. You may disagree with his position on the overall issue but you can’t fault the passion and heart he brought to that convention and in the columns he wrote about the people and the process.

Zuri Aki, at right, makes a point at the recent aha to fellow delegates.
Zuri Aki, at right, makes a point to fellow delegates at the recent aha. Courtesy of Na'alehu Anthony

Last week, Zuri told us he’s decided to get into elective politics as a Democratic candidate for state House District 36  — Mililani/Mililani Mauka/Waipio Acres. He thinks he’ll probably file his papers this week and begin actively campaigning for the seat now held by Republican Beth Fukumoto Chang.

It would be unfair, of course, to give a platform like a column in Civil Beat to any individual candidate. So we need to end our arrangement with him.

But I was curious why Zuri, a University of Hawaii law student, would want to take on one of the most popular Republicans in the state. Fukumoto Chang is the Minority Floor Leader in the House and once headed the Hawaii Republican Party.

“I’ve chosen to run for two main reasons,” he told me in a recent email. “I love my community.  I’m the third generation (in my family) to reside in Mililani and really, I have genealogical ties to the area from time immemorial. When I was young, there was a strong sense of community pride and while that may still be the case, it’s not so overt.”

Zuri says he wants to help bolster that sense of community again, and that he could play a role in helping bring money to the district for community initiatives if he were in the Legislature.

And, he says, he wants to work on issues like bringing down the high cost of living, multi-generational support for our aging community and further development of the tech sector.

“I’d really like to put action behind my words,” he says.

Now we’re on the lookout for another young writer who can fill Zuri’s spot with a similar sharp eye and clear voice to bring to the discussion on the issues that face Hawaii, particularly as they relate to the millennial generation. Drop me a line if you’re interested.

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