Candidate: Patrick Kamakanianu Shea
State House Dist. 49
I am a challenger
1. Why are you running for office?
I am running for office because the Hawaii that I grew up in seems to be disappearing. It is becoming a place that is out of reach to the people who live and work here. It is becoming a place that is owned and controlled by corporate and industry interests. The cost of living in Hawaii forces impossible choices on local people. They must choose between owning a home, and sending their kids to college.
It will be even more difficult for the next generation. As I watch my two sons growing up, I wonder if there will be opportunities for them here, so that they can make their home in Hawaii, and raise their own families on these islands. I am deeply concerned that the careers and jobs that they can afford, will be on the mainland. I don’t want that.
That’s why it is important for us to work on delivering housing that local workers can afford, and improving education so that our public school graduates can compete strongly. Moreover, we need to make sure that folks can afford the retirement they earned, by protecting pensions from unnecessary taxes, and providing resources that will allow our Kupuna to age in place with dignity.
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?
Self-governance is necessary to
- Rectify past harm from the 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and the subsequent transfer of 1.8 mil acres of government and crown lands to the U.S. and later the State of Hawaii
- Protect and preserve the existing trust obligations the U.S. and state have to Kanaka Maoli against equal protection challenges and
- Improve the overall well being of our state considering kanaka are over-represented in almost every negative socio-economic statistic (i.e. homelessness, poverty, poor health, prisons, etc.).
We know that when Kanaka Maoli are thriving, our entire state will thrive.
The issue that needs more discussion is the pathway of self-governance. The form of self-governance has been a controversial issue for many Kanaka Maoli with the constitutional convention of Na’i Aupuni and the proposed administrative rule by the Department of Interior. These two efforts have divided our community because the community has not achieved consensus on what option will best fit our future goals.
Before we can decide on a pathway to self-governance, there needs to be a stronger educational and community initiative to engage all Hawaiians. The goal of this effort would be to (1) educate Hawaiians on the legal history of Hawai’i and their current privileges and rights under existing state and federal laws (2) collaborate with and engage community in an open discussion to obtain feedback on their needs and desires for the future and (3) build a solution according to this process. Consensus is imperative so that we can adopt a form of self-governance for future generations.
If elected, I am committed to supporting policies that seek to unify and educate all Hawaiians to build consensus around our future.
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.
My role as a legislator is to give Kanaka Maoli a voice in policy initiatives that directly impact their rights. For many reasons, Kanaka are underrepresented in our current government structure. I want to work to change that. As a legislator, I plan to support increasing the capacity of lawmakers to serve the people of Hawaii. We can do this by educating and training lawmakers in the area of Native Hawaiian rights so lawmakers give proper considerations to the constitutional trust obligations the state has to Kanaka in all policy decisions as they relate to natural resources and customary and traditional rights.
I will also support policies that build the capacity of state agencies that deal directly with Native Hawaiian resources. We need more experts in the area of Native Hawaiian rights in leadership roles in state agencies to prevent unnecessary litigation.
I will support funding the Department of Hawaiian Homelands to minimize and ultimately eliminate the waiting list of beneficiaries for homestead lands. This will help to rehabilitate Kanaka Maoli and minimize houselessness in our state.
I will also support providing facilities for Charter Schools. I would like to see a stronger partnership between the Department of Education and Charter Schools so these two bodies can work more effectively to serve high risk Native Hawaiian children. Moreover, all teachers should be paid enough to be financially secure in Hawaii.
I have been very interested to note the level of dissatisfaction and disengagement of Native Hawaiians in the process of our democracy. So many have told me during my canvassing in the District that they see no point in voting or being otherwise engaged. And Kanaka Maoli are underrepresented in the current government structure. I intend to support leadership programs that encourage participation in our democracy, and create a pathway for Native Hawaiians to serve in government so our interests can be adequately represented.
We need a more effective water permit system that properly protects customary and traditional rights.
Our students could also benefit from locally developed educational materials for DOE schools to educate students on the history of Hawaii, and which recognizes the uniqueness of this place.
I would also support legislation that preserves the corpus of the ceded lands trust, and increases transparency and accountability related to ceded lands revenues and proceeds.