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Wednesday, September 20, 2017
'Pono Policy Academy' to Begin Candidate Training Classes
By News Release @ 1:22 PM :: 3507 Views :: Politicians

New FREE Program Offered to Educate Potential Candidates On Practicing ‘Pono Politics’

News Release from

Honolulu, Hawai‘i September 19, 2017 – Public trust in elected officials continues to be abysmal across the board, from Democrats to Republicans on both the state and federal level. With less than 35 percent of the state’s eligible voters casting their vote in the 2016 primary election, Hawai‘i ranked last in the nation for voter turnout—setting a new record low. In an effort to restore the public’s interest and faith in its political leaders, Pono Policy Academy is a new project aimed at informing and training the public about the legislative process. This includes training qualified potential candidates for elected office.

Pono Policy Academy is a nonpartisan educational effort of local nonprofit Partners in Development Foundation and its civic engagement program No Vote No Grumble, with funding from the League of Women Voters of Honolulu Education Fund. It’s based on traditional Native Hawaiian governance when the kuleana (responsibility) of the ali‘i was to ensure that their people were cared for and protected. It was an honor they took seriously and respect from the people had to be earned and kept.

“While there are many reasons people choose not to vote, one of the primary reasons we’ve heard is that people have lost faith in the system,” said (lobbyist and former State Democratic Party Chair) Alex Santiago, Pono Policy Academy founder and program trainer. “We need candidates to practice ‘pono politics’ because people do not feel that their communities are truly being served and represented.”

Pono politics is the practice of the Hawaiian value pono (righteousness, morality) by elected officials. As public servants, this includes the expressed practice of transparency, honesty and commitment to serve constituents with integrity.

Each session of Pono Policy Academy consists of an initial “Introduction and Overview” half-day training, followed by two full-day trainings on “How to Run a Campaign” and “What to Expect After a Successful Campaign.” Anyone interested in learning about the legislative process and how they can get involved can register for the free half-day session.

Day two and three are reserved for those seriously interested in running for office or assisting someone else run for office. An application must be completed and an independent board will review and select attendees for the full-day trainings.  

For training session dates and to register or apply, visit

ABOUT PARTNERS IN DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION - Serving Hawai‘i’s Families, Living Hawaiian Values.

Partners In Development Foundation (PIDF), a nonprofit public charity incorporated in 1997, serves at-risk families and communities in Hawai‘i through a wide range of free programs in early childhood education, parent education, adult education, support for adjudicated youth, and other social services including civic engagement. In 2006, PIDF established the No Vote No Grumble (NVNG) project, a nonpartisan initiative focused on increasing civic engagement, registering voters, encouraging voter turnout and educating residents to make their own informed decisions, with a focus on the underrepresented/underserved populations of Hawai‘i. To learn more, visit and


The mission of the League Of Women Voters Of Honolulu Education Fund (LWVHEF) is to promote political responsibility of representative government by sponsoring and coordinating educational programs for the general public in regard to civic needs, governmental processes, and the results of actions taken by states and counties; and to develop and maintain a repository of information of assistance to persons or organizations engaged in educational programs regarding civic responsibility and the process of representative government. To learn more, visit

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2007: Alex Santiago resignation underlines council members' rift


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