Leina‘ala (Lei) Ahu-Isa, OHA O‘ahu

Laina‘ala Lei Ahu-Isa

1.   Why are you running for office?

Maybe the question for me should be  Maybe the question for me should be “Why shouldn’t I run?”  As a child growing up with by pure Hawaiian tutu, I watched how she and my half-Hawaiian ‘Papa’ lived in poverty, after their land was taken from them because they did not have a ‘paper’ ..a deed to prove it was in our family for years.. an issue of kuleana lands.  My tutu would say “Stand up straight!  Speak the Queen’s English… don’t speak Hawaiian! You study hard so you can get a good job, go to college!  No hula dancing because shame to show your half naked self on a stage!”  My tutu showed her proud heritage whenever  she would walk with her Ahahu’i Ka’ahumanu sisters in the Kamehameha parade and many others… I would watch and hoped that I could join them when I grew up.  Being privileged to be raised by such strong women (my Mom was a devoted Christian), I excelled in school…went on to get my PhD all while raising two children (both graduated from Kamehameha Schools) as a single parent.

Being a State Representative( Chair of Economic Development Committee), State Board of Education, Business Professor, Exec Director of UH Small Business Management, Principal Broker for major hotels, etc…  I think it’s about time I go back to my roots and give back in whatever way I can help our Hawaiian people.   As a Vice Chair of the State Board of Education, I had opportunities to experience the harsh environment our Hawaiian children grow up in.  i.e. I’d witness homeless children go to school to eat breakfast ..then run back to the beach after being teased, bullied, shamed!  It broke my heart and brought back memories of my childhood at Kalihi Kai School and Kalakaua Inter when I was bullied, teased.

Education is my forte.  So as change comes, and it is making itself known more today than yesterday, as the “Huliau” begins, “Life Will Be Better for our people

2.   What are your views about Hawaiian self-governance?

This has been an ongoing effort by many many people.  I remember Kau Inoa and receiving my ID photo card verifying that I am a Hawaiian member of this endeavor.   The “Entity” should be decided by our Hawaiian people… There are lots of very smart, good, caring Hawaiians out there who would make great leaders!

A’ole, No, Fedwreck, as it would just result in the same ‘ole boy network’ controlling everything from the federal to state to cite. The Kanaka Maoli would still be in the same situation as they have been for years… Broken promises, mistrust…

3.   When it comes to Native Hawaiian issues, what do you perceive your role as a legislator to be?

Whenever you deal with moral, ethical and Cultural values when shaping the fulfillment of the Mandate of bettering the lives of our Hawaiian people, it is just as challenging as legislating ‘moral’ issues in the Legislature, if not more. An indigenous culture, ‘the Host culture is being served as best as it can with what little the State parcels out. The “ceiling’ of $15M to take care our beneficiaries, while it keeps millions / spends billion for the rail? RELEASE THE $119M which B & F is holding (20% of ceded land revenues)

Let’s be Fair!