The head of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is running for an at-large trustee seat on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs board.

Kelii Akina said in a press release, “The people of Hawaii know it’s time to reform OHA. We have to preserve the Aloha Spirit, equally advancing the interests of both native Hawaiians and all people in unity.”

Akina is adjunct faculty with Hawaii Pacific University and a plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case Akina v. State of Hawaii, which challenged the Nai Aupuni self-governance election process. 

Kelii Akina.

Kelii Akina.

The candidate argues that OHA should “stop wasting millions of dollars on the creation of a federally recognized race-based nation, something which most native Hawaiians and all residents don’t want.”

Instead, he says, “OHA should spend its public funds on housing, jobs, education, and health care for those in need, rather than squandering it on a failed political agenda.”

Akina finished fifth in an at-large OHA race in 2014, one in which the top three vote-getters were elected trustees.

The field this year includes longtime incumbent Haunani Apoliona.

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