Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 8 Primary Election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions about where they stand on various issues and what their priorities will be if elected.
The following came from Louis Hao, candidate for Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees Hawaii island resident. Other candidates include Kauilani Almeida, Noelani Cashman-Aiu, Laura Desoto-McCollough, Cyd Hoffeld, Pua Ishibashi, Lei Kihoi, Keola Lindsey, Lanakila Mangauil, Louis Pau and Kalaniakea Wilson.
1. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing Native Hawaiians? What will you do about it?
Housing. With the high cost of home ownership, 50% of Native Hawaiians will be forced to leave Hawaii and relocate on the mainland.
As OHA trustee, I will do the following:
• Partnership and joint venture with DHHL;
• Offer 2% direct financing instead of loan guarantees, extend term payments beyond 30 years, initiate homeowner/builder rather than packaged home purchases, including self-help builder and rent-to-own programs.
2. What would you do to change how OHA is run?
I will request a management audit and review the audit and make appropriate changes. Trustees must be more accountable to beneficiaries.
3. What would you do to bridge the gaps within the Native Hawaiian community over issues like construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope or development of energy projects?
OHA must continue a beneficiary consultation process to insure our cultural and environmental concerns are addressed. I will pursue and leverage partnership with TMT to obtain economic opportunities to improve and better the conditions of the Native Hawaiians in education, housing, health and economic ventures and development programs.
The negative economic forecast for Hawaii will impact everyone, including Native Hawaiians. With the infusion of $2.4 billion into our island economy, all will benefit.
4. Do you support the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea? Why or why not?
Greater wisdom, knowledge and understanding are also found in the universe for God first created the heavens and the Earth.
TMT is the gateway as space and technology are in our future. The benefits are available. I support TMT. Mahalo ke Akua.
5. Do you support OHA providing financial aid to Mauna Kea protesters?
Yes. Guidelines are to be in place.
6. What role should the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands play in reducing homelessness?
DHHL is a trust for Native Hawaiians with 50% blood. No Hawaiian should be homeless. Mauna Kea has 56,000 acres of undeveloped lands. Put beneficiaries on the land.
7. Why do you think Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in our prisons and jails? What can be done about it?
Drugs and unemployment. Being Hawaiian is about pride and feeling good about oneself. It is about economics and self-suficiency.
More job opportunities including vocational training opportunities and union internships are needed.
8. What are your views regarding Hawaiian self-determination?
We need first to settle our differences concerning the 20% ceded land revenue as promised in the Compact of Statehood of As a former trustee, in 2000, the State of Hawaii owed OHA more than $800 million and that was settled for much less.
We should appeal to Congress the right to self-govern under the 15th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The 1993 Apology Bill to Native Hawaiians did not provide for reparation. Just being “sorry” is not good enough.
9. What other important issue would you like to discuss here?
Housing, health and economic development are my main objectives as an elected trustee. Cooperation, coordination and joint partnerships are necessary now to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians.