1. Why are you running for office?
After starting and building both my business and family over the past two decades, I have watched our great state struggle to stay afloat. Having had the opportunity to be involved with the state legislature and working with both the House and Senate members, there appears to be a need for a fresh business perspective. I truly care about the people of Hawai’i and the future of the Hawaiian Islands. My wife and children are Hawaiian, Oahu is our home and I can no longer just sit idly by and watch the same tired politicians continue to promote the same tired campaign promises.
2. What are your views about Hawaiian self-governance? In your capacity as a legislator, what action, if any, would you advocate in support of Hawaiian self- governance?
Hawaiian self-goverance can be defined by one word, ea — a culmination of life, land, and sovereignty: a right to self-determination for Kanaka ‘Oiwi. As a kane (husband) and a makuakane (father) to my wife and daughters, both of whom are of Native Hawaiian ancestry political consensus and nation building will be the foundation pieces of a successful Lahui Hawai’i (Hawaiian Nation). In my capacity as a legislator I would kako’o (support) efforts to provide education and awareness about the topic of Hawaiian self-governance, organize and facilitate community discussions in regards to the type of governing entity Kanaka ‘Oiwi would like to develop and through this process will strive to restore ea.
3. When it comes to Native Hawaiian issues, what do you perceive your role as a legislator to be? What ways can you, if elected, support Native Hawaiian concerns through your legislative abilities? If elected, describe specific Native Hawaiian bill ideas that you would be willing to propose or support for the advancement of Native Hawaiians.
As a legislator I have the Kuleana, responsibility and privilege of serving Native Hawaiians as they are the indigenous peoples of Hawai’i. Part of my campaign emphasizes the importance of restoring our ‘Ohana and protecting our ‘Aina. These ideas exemplify my commitment to leadership through service. If elected, I am committed to meeting with community members, leaders, and families. I am committed to being a leo (voice) for their mana’o (ideas and opinions) at the State Senate and most importantly, an advocate when it comes to Native Hawaiian issues.
In terms of Hawaiʻi Legislation these are current bills which i kuʻu wahi manaʻo are relative to your campaign and are of precedence in our NH community:
- SB2127, HB1658: Promoting Better Management of Mauna Kea Lands
Mauna Kea, referred to Mauna A Wakea by Kanaka ʻOiwi is a wahi kapu, sacred site, and as such should be managed in a pono manner and this bill seeks to re-instill public confidence in both the Stateʻs and the University of Hawaiʻiʻs land management.
- SB2126, HB1657: Improving the Environmental Review Process
This bill seeks to clearly define approaches for gathering input to create and develop environmental assessments and environmental impact statements which should include and consider particular environmental and/or cultural knowledge of the project area ensuring a successful review process.
- SB2125, HB1656: Addressing a Loophole Used to Sell Off Public and “Ceded” Lands
In 2009 Act 176 was passed to prevent the state form alienating “ceded” lands until the Native Hawaiian peopleʻs claims to those lands have been resolved. However, “remnants” which are typically vacated or abandoned roads and/or lands were an exception to this act and the BLNR has been classifying parcels of state lands as “remnants” as a means of selling “ceded” lands. This bill would protect public lands, included “ceded” lands from being incorrectly categorized as “remnants.”
My recommendation in regards to bill proposals:
As inferred by the ʻōlelo noʻeau, “Nānā ka maka, hoʻolohe ka pepiao, a hana ka lima – first watch, listen, then work,” future bill proposals will be made based on input and ʻiʻini (desire) from our Kānaka ʻŌiwi population.
Hope that was helpful, please advise if further elaboration is needed.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my responses. If you have questions, please via email or at 265-3355. Mahalo
Michael D. Bennett, M.D.