The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees announced Thursday that Mililani Trask will be the board’s ninth member.
Trask replaces Keola Lindsey, who resigned Feb. 1.
Trask is a lawyer and prominent Native Hawaiian rights activist who, according to OHA, has “served the Hawaiian community for decades.”
That experience includes her work as the executive director of The Gibson Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Hawaiians achieve homeownership.
“I have dedicated my life to the uplifting of the Hawaiian peoples, the opposition to systemic racism that we face and the eradication of poverty, landlessness, and ill health which are current manifestations of our collective colonial past,” Trask said in a press release. “I state unequivocally, that if I am supported by the majority of the current Trustees, I will pledge to speak honestly, argue strenuously for consensus, and listen to and consider the words of my fellow Trustees as we work together to advance the status and condition of our peoples.”
Two other candidates were nominated by OHA trustees for consideration — Joshua Lanakila Mangauil and Kaloa Robinson. The decision was made after the board received public testimony and reviewed qualifications.
“This was followed by questions from the trustees that centered largely around advocacy measures, such as ensuring the state fulfills its obligation to Hawaiians by paying 20 percent of the public land trust revenues and pursuing development opportunities at Kakaako Makai,” OHA explained.
Trask received six votes and Robinson and Mangauil one vote each in a third round of voting.
Trask will serve until the general election on Nov. 8. It is not clear whether Trask, who has run for the OHA board before, will also seek election to the seat.
OHA, established by Constitutional Convention in 1978, is a semi-autonomous state agency mandated to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians.
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