Thursday, July 25, 2002

OHA logo

OHA elections
draw smaller field

3 incumbents are among
23 candidates in the running
for the 5 available seats

Candidate list

By Pat Omandam

Hawaii voters will have a lot fewer Office of Hawaiian Affairs candidates to choose from in the Nov. 5 general elections than in years past.

Unlike the free-for-all 2000 OHA elections that drew 96 candidates for the board's nine trustee seats, only 23 people had signed up to run for the five available seats when Tuesday's candidate filing deadline passed.

And three of those candidates -- Rowena Akana, Oz Stender and John Waihee IV -- are sitting trustees seeking re-election on the statewide, no-island-residency ticket where the three highest votes win.

Others in that at-large race who hope to knock off the incumbents are Darrow Aiona, Roy Benham, Mike Hanohano, Adrian Kamalii, Frankie Kay Kawelo, Demetrius Keliiholokai and Charles Nakoa.

Meanwhile, for the first time in 12 years, Clayton Hee's name will not appear on the OHA ballot. Hee is running as a Democrat for lieutenant governor, and 10 people have lined up to replace him on the Oahu seat.

Among them is Louis "Buzzy" Agard, an OHA aide to Maui trustee Charles Ota. Agard said this is a critical time for OHA because it faces a lot of opposition from those who say the agency discriminates against non-Hawaiians.

Also running for the Oahu seat are Dante Carpenter, former Hawaii mayor; Tony Chang, former state senator and 1978 Constitutional Convention delegate; Jerry Freeman; Leona Kalima; Orrin Kupau; M. Kehaulani Rezentes; Charles Rose, retired Hawaii County police captain; and Marion Shim.

Ota also is not running for re-election, which means the Maui trustee seat will be filled by one of four challengers: Wilmont Kahaialii Jr., George Kaimiola, Boyd Mossman or Robert Wilcox IV.

Mossman is a retired Maui judge who wants to bring a "calming presence" to the OHA board as it deals with the numerous lawsuits against it.

Kahaialii, one of 13 siblings that includes entertainer Willie K. and the son of former OHA trustee Manu Kahaialii, said he wants to bring accountability to the board through feedback from the entire Hawaiian community.

"I do believe that what will help keep the leadership in check is to go out into the community and get feedback, and really use that feedback to measure their performance," Kahaialii said.

OHA chairwoman Haunani Apoliona said voters want trustees who are competent, community-based people. With tremendous issues ahead, trustees must focus on OHA's mission, she said.

"There's opportunities for some fresh leadership, and I believe it's hopeful," she said.

A February 2000 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Rice vs. Cayetano case opened up the once Hawaiians-only OHA elections to all Hawaii voters. Later court rulings allowed candidates of any ethnicity to run for the board.


Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Here is the list of candidates for the Office
of Hawaiian Affairs election in November.

At-Large (3)

Darrow L. Kanakanui Aiona
Rowena M. Noelani Akana*
Roy Ilikea Benham
Mike "Happy" Hanohano
Adrian Kamalani Kamali'i
Frankie Kay Kawelo
Demetrius Keliiholoka'i
Charles M.L.S. Nakoa
Oswald "Oz" Stender*
John D. Waihe'e IV*

Maui (1)

Wilmont K. Kahaialii Jr.
George Manulani Kaimiola
Boyd P. Mossman
Robert K. Wilcox IV

Oahu (1)

Louis "Buzzy" Agard
Dante Keala Carpenter
A.K.U. "Tony" Chang
Jerry K.M. Freeman
Leona Mapuana Kalima
Orrin Kupau
Mami K. Rezentes
Charles "Kale Loke" Rose Jr.
Marion Heen Shim

* Incumbent

E-mail to City Desk


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