Native Hawaiians


I believe that rural Hawaii can be a place of strong, safe, thriving communities where our children may grow up to create a happy life in the town where they were raised. 

I believe that our liberation is tied to our economic success, and that success requires access to the resources which allow us to live with dignity, free from violence and poverty— these include access to homelands, water, a clean and sustainable environment, good schools, a robust Hawaiian-centered economy, and quality health care choices for Native Hawaiians.

And I strongly believe that any actions taken to bring justice and empowerment to Native Hawaiians, benefits Hawaii as a whole.


Ceded Lands

I believe that ceded lands belong to Native Hawaiians. The State of Hawaii, by federal law, must pay to Native Hawaiians the revenues earned from activities on ceded lands. I believe that the current revenue of $15 million annually is a gross underestimation of what is truly owed and that the federal government should procure an assessment of the actual revenues generated on ceded lands. Payment of income and proceeds, by the State of Hawaiʻi to the Office of Hawaiian Affiars (OHA), as verified and proposed, is both right and just.

For too long, Native Hawaiians have been the victims of the highest degree of theft. Generations of oppression made us vulnerable to the greed of a powerful few. This theft must end. By paying Native Hawaiians the rightful amount due from ceded land revenue, most, if not all of the societal problems affecting Hawaii’s entire populace would be ameliorated; issues such as poverty, houselessness, domestic violence, child abuse, prison reform, food insecurity, and human trafficking. Native Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in all of these areas, but with fair and appropriate funding from ceded lands, we would be able to best address these areas and see improved outcomes for Native Hawaiians and all of Hawaii. 


Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA)

I believe, in the long term, that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs should exist independent of, and external to, the State of Hawaii. With grassroots Native Hawaiian collaboration, OHA and DHHL can begin to forge a way forward for a stable, organized, and transparent effort toward self-determination with their beneficiaries. For OHA , the journey toward self-determination requires a transparent and accountable entity, in alliance with the grassroots Native Hawaiian community, that exists primarily to empower its beneficiaries, without voting input from non-Native Hawaiians.


The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT)

I believe that Native Hawaiians value science, technology, and discovery. I also believe that Native Hawaiians have the right to protect our culture, history, and land. I strongly oppose any attempts to criminalize or vilify peaceful protestors on Mauna Kea who are, in fact, protected by the First Amendment.

I oppose granting permits for TMT until the University of Hawaii brings its current Mauna Kea project sites into environmental compliance and repairs its relationship with Mauna Kea stakeholders. Having reached this impasse over TMT is regrettable, but this is not because of the Native Hawaiian community. Native Hawaiians have been trying to alert the public and government to the environmental issues on Mauna Kea long before TMT was proposed.

As a community, we must not allow a land-user to disregard environmental law and our cultural sacred sites. Doing so creates an unconstitutional precedent for all future land development projects in Hawaii.  


Water Rights

Whether it be sacred water rights or basic water rights held in a public trust, I strongly believe in protecting and expanding water rights for Native Hawaiians. As the original protectors of the land and the water, we have an ancestral responsibility to respect the water, ensure its flow, use, and health in perpetuity for the land and all its people.



Recently, the current Secretary of Education with the U.S. Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, has clearly signaled her attack on the funding directly benefitting Native Hawaiian children in the public school system. I will work to protect this funding and work diligently to undo any act DeVos commits against the full funding of our public schools.

In concert with my stance to protect the public education of children, I will ensure continued and increased funding for both public schools and public charter schools in order to provide quality education choices throughout our rural areas.


Housing and Houselessness

Native Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in the houseless population in Hawaii. Hawaii ranks highest in houselessness per capita in the United States. I will work to end houselessness by supporting attainable housing solutions for ohana, sustainable tiny home communities for single houseless persons, increased funding for Housing First services, and regulate (not abolish) vacation home rentals by supporting a cap on units offered by a single proprietor.

I strongly support raising the federal minimum wage to $15/hour by 2020 and will work to link the federal minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in perpetuity. A $15/hour minimum wage is only a temporary fix, so linking future increases of the federal minimum wage to CPI (inflation) will relieve us from the exhausting redundancy of having to fight for a living wage every year. I will also support a tax plan that alleviates the financial burdens of ohana living paycheck to paycheck and will work to expand social security in order to help keep seniors from spending their later years in poverty.

 Photo courtesy Kai Markell

Photo courtesy Kai Markell

 Photo courtesy Steve Balai

Photo courtesy Steve Balai

 Photo courtesy Kai Markell

Photo courtesy Kai Markell

 Sherry with Kaimo Muhlestein and Auntie Momi Khan of the Kalihi Palama Civic Club

Sherry with Kaimo Muhlestein and Auntie Momi Khan of the Kalihi Palama Civic Club