Keli’i Akina and Mililani Trask Team-up to Reform OHA ` They Urge All Hawaii Voters to Cast OHA Ballots
News Release from Akina Campaign
HONOLULU, HAWAII--July 19, 2016 - Dr. Keli`i Akina and attorney Mililani Trask appeared together on Monday`s episode of E Hana Kakou, a weekly television program on the ThinkTech Hawaii Broadcast Network. Their purpose was to communicate that they are working together to reform the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Akina is President/CEO of the Grassroot Institute and a candidate for OHA Trustee-at-Large. Trask is an advocate for the native Hawaiian people and a candidate for the Big Island OHA Trustee seat.
The thirty-minute television show may be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE-FtsVmN6s
Akina opened the discussion, stating, “We are working together. We're going to tell you why we're working together because what's at stake is far beyond anyone's political agenda.” (1:12)
Trask stated, “The issues that are decided at OHA are issues that are going to impact the entire state. Every critical issue of the islands involves Hawaiians.” (2:55)
The wide-ranging discussion took critical aim at OHA`s policies on homelessness, Kakaako development, Hawaiian Homelands, Federal Recognition, and more. Akina and Trask agreed that It`s time for new leadership at OHA.
Akina said, “[There`s] all this money that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has - half a billion dollars - and it's not being used [adequately] to help the homeless with housing or provide jobs or education or to provide health care.” (5:50).
Trask agreed and added: “We know that in the past 20 years about 33 million dollars has been spent on the OHA plan for federal recognition.” (8:44)
Akina continued, “And one of the things that has brought you (i.e., Trask) and me together is the fact that we are both adamantly opposed to fraud waste and abuse in government. People don't realize that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and organizations that it has started... are not spending the money properly.” (6:57)
Trask: “I'm glad you point out that we do have many things in common. Why are we working together? One of the strong things we share is a commitment to accountability in government and transparent government.” (16:45)
Akina: “We need new leadership at OHA. We need to bring about reform at OHA. Because everybody understands that something is not going right. In a lot of ways OHA evades scrutiny and somehow comes underneath the radar.”(17:45)
Trask on Federal Recognition of native Hawaiians: “OHA wants to retain wardship - have the state provide it with the revenue, but they are not willing to work with their own people to provide critical needs like housing and poverty alleviation. We have to stop making the goal of self-governance be the opportunity to suck at the state and federal teet.” (19:10)
Akina: “The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, in its collusion with the Department of interior and groups like Na`i Aupuni, is not really about advancing native Hawaiians.” (19:45)
In conclusion, both Akina and Trask urged all voters, whether ethnically Hawaiian or not, to vote for OHA Trustees in the upcoming election.
Trask: “Hawaii is just too small and the need is just too great to have people believe they can't get involved just because of an ethnic difference.... Unless we get the support of the non-Hawaiian voters, we are just not going to be able to clean up the situation at OHA... We need the other voters to join us to help clean it up”. (26:37)
Akina: “We work together to keep our government transparent. We work together to fight waste, fraud and abuse. We work together to help people understand that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is government. It's everyone's government. And everyone needs to pay attention, because, if we don't pay attention, it will become everyone's problem.” (27:56)
FreeHawaii: KELI`I AKINA & MILILANI TRASK TEAM UP TO REFORM OHA