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OHA At-Large Trustee

Duties: The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) holds title to all real and personal property held in trust for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians. OHA Board of Trustees formulate policy and manage the agency's trust which includes income derived from whatever sources for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians, such as the management, sale or disposition of land, natural resources and minerals.How Elected: OHA's Board of Trustees is composed of nine trustees who are elected in public elections open to all State of Hawaii voters. Four of the nine positions are designated as at-large seats representing the state as a whole. The other five trustees represent one of five districts: Hawai`i Island, Maui, Molokai and Lana`i, O`ahu, and Kaua`i and Niihau. A district trustee must be a resident of that district and be a registered voter of Hawaii. Elections are held in even numbered years, so only four or five seats are up for election at any given time. In 2020, four (4) of nine (9) seats are up for election.Term: Four years, not subject to term limits.Base Salary: Trustee --$58,560; Chairperson --$66,769

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    Keli'i AKINA

  • Candidate picture

    Keoni SOUZA

Biographical Information

Please provide a brief Candidate Statement describing your qualifications and why you are running for this office.

What are your top two goals and how will you achieve them if elected?

Age 62
Education Ph.D. and M.A., University of Hawaii; B.A., Northwestern University; Kamehameha Schools, Class of '76
Military/Community Service Founder, Center for Tomorrow's Leaders; Advisor, Malama Meals; President Emeritus; Youth for Christ Hawaii; Board Member, local and national non-profits
Campaign Phone (808) 256-9792
Campaign Email
As an OHA Trustee, I have worked hard to audit and reform the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. I have fought on behalf of Hawaiians and all Hawaii's people to rid the agency of fraud, waste, and abuse. Despite much opposition, I championed a historic independent audit which is now the foundation for major changes. And to set an example, I refused to accept personal Trustee Allowance funds until needed reforms were made. As I now complete my first term, having fulfilled my campaign promises to bring about reform, I seek a second term to ensure that these reforms take root and that OHA builds its capacity to meet the real needs of Hawaiians.
My first goal is to stop the dividing of Hawaii's people along racial lines and restore the Aloha Spirit to Hawaii. The needs of Hawaiians can be met without taking away from or opposing non-Hawaiians. Divided, there is nothing we, as a state, can do; but united, there is nothing that can stop us. Thus, I am proud to be Hawaiian, and I am proud to be an American.

My second goal is to develop resources for the advancement of Hawaiians through economic self-sufficiency. My plan is to: 1) Protect the OHA Trust through audits and sound fiscal policy; 2) Grow the OHA Trust by developing Kaka’ako Makai and other properties; and, 3) Use the OHA Trust to meet Hawaiians’ needs for housing, jobs, education, and healthcare.
Age 36
Education The Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus
Military/Community Service Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts
Campaign Address PO Box 875
Honolulu, HI 96808
Campaign Phone (808) 349-5200
Campaign Email
Twitter @souzaforoha
As a lifelong resident of Hawaii and father of 3 young children I care deeply about the future of Hawaii. As a realtor I understand the struggles Hawaii families go through just to afford a home. As a musician for the Hoku award winning group Na Hoa I have traveled the world and heard horrific stories of why people from Hawaii cannot afford to come back home to live. This has got to change.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs purpose is to better the lives of native Hawaiians but more needs to be done. I have the political will and desire to make a difference. I also have the ability to work together with the broader community and get the job done.
OHA has a great community relations team and I want to assist them in partnering with more community stakeholders to provide resources to our beneficiaries. I want to partner with the business community, unions, educators and government officials to access more funding for OHA. It is a well known fact that OHA does not receive the funding it should but we need to think outside of the box to partner with others to assist native Hawaiians and the broader community.

Mortgage education is another issue I want to work on. When we put native Hawaiians into their own homes the entire community will benefit. I have done this in the private sector and would like my experiences to better the lives of native Hawaiians as well.