Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 13 primary election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.
The following came from Jerry Flowers, a candidate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Molokai trustee position. There are two other candidates, Alapai Hanapi and Colette Machado.
Name: Jerry W Flowers (Manuwa)
Office seeking: Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Molokai and Lanai Trustee
Occupation: Substitute teacher
Community organizations/prior offices held: Molokai Habitat for Humanities; executive secretary/spokesperson; Molokai Little League, executive vice president; State Support Organization, executive board member; Kualapuu Elementary School LAPP, community board member
Age as of Aug. 13, 2016: 32
Place of residence: Hoolehua, Molokai
1. This year has seen an outsized influence from people who want big changes in how government is run. What would you do to change how OHA is run?
First thing to do is to bring our Hawaiian people a voice and that’s what I plan to do, keep the Hawaiians in the loop of all things that involve the Hawaiians and OHA. Then allow and listen to the Hawaiians and their Mana’o and concerns they might have to help or better OHA as a whole entity of the Hawaii government system. And lastly, with hope this being a success, bring the two Department of Hawaiian Homes to the table to help and assist on housing and renovations that will help our elders and houseless Hawaiians in need. Above all my platform is education, housing and unity of the Hawaiians.
2. Hawaii has long been dominated by the Democratic Party establishment. Should this change, and if so, how?
I feel that the Democratic and Republican parties have been doing a good job thus far, in this case if the two parties can agree on what the people need and not the government needs then let us keep working together for the better Hawaii.
3. Would you support eliminating Hawaii’s high fees for access to public records when the request is in the public interest?
Yes, I feel that if it’s a public record than why should anyone pay for it?
4. Voters complain their elected officials don’t listen to them. What would you do to improve communication?
Communication is the key and as for me I feel that technology allows us to communicate in many ways that will allow everyone get their Mana’o heard. My plan is to use the social media, flyers and digital media as much as possible to keep my fellow people involved as much as possible.
5. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your district? What will you do about it?
Sustainability. This is a tough topic due to more of Molokai would love to grow their own crops and raise their own cattle but the funding is limited or in this case, most of Molokai was just left out of the loop on the micro-loans that were available for start-up through OHA.
6. Is OHA fulfilling its mandate to serve the Hawaiian people?
To each their own opinion; in my opinion OHA is thus far, but I feel that more could be done for our people.
7. What are your views regarding Hawaiian independence?
As for my stance on the Hawaiian sovereignty movement (Hawaiian independence), when a plan is presented that is beneficial for all Hawaiians and our counterparts, and where our na kupuna can reap their benefits as they are now, then I will help make this happen.
8. Are you satisfied with the way OHA has negotiated with the state over ceded-land revenues?
No not at this time, as I stated OHA can and should be fighting harder.
9. Why do you think Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in our prisons and jails? What can be done about it?
This is a tough issue for the people of Hawaii. I feel that our Hawaiians need to be educated better and this is a question more for the state and legislators’ side. Our people need more support and help and this has to start within their system.
10. Do you support the construction of the TMT telescope atop Mauna Kea?
After more research into this matter, no, not at this time due to there were to many issues done without the approval of the Hawaiian people. I feel that all entities need to be where the keiki’s education and the people are at the benefiting side of the matter. Therefore, if this happens and the people of Hawaii agree to allow it to happen, then my support will be there. However, if the people still deny the TMT on our mauna then my answer will remain, no.
Please vote for Jerry Flowers Manuwa for OHA Trustee for the Island of Moloka’i and Lana’i