Full Name: Keli‘i Akina, Ph.D.
Name on Ballot: Keli‘i Akina
Email Address: kelii@keliiAKINA.com
Current Job: President/CEO, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Place of birth: Kansas City, Mo.
Campaign website: keliiAKINA.com
Job history past 10 years:
2013-present: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, president, CEO
2001-present: University of Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University, adjunct faculties,
1980-2011: Youth for Christ Hawaii, president/CEO
Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?:
2014, OHA trustee-at-Large: 93,000 votes – finalist in general election
2013, OHA trustee-at-Large: 32,000 votes
Other civic experience or community service?
Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders, founder
Pacific Century Fellows, fellow
Youth for Christ USA, national board of directors
Aloha Heritage Center (Maui), board of directors
Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?
I am a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools, Northwestern University (B.A.) and the University of Hawaii (M.A. and Ph.D.). Currently, I am president/CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Hawaii’s leading independent think tank dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, free markets and limited, accountable government.
What makes you qualified to be a trustee of OHA?
I am the leading voice to oppose government dividing Hawaii into separate racial nations. I have also led the charge to refocus OHA’s wasteful spending to meet real needs of Hawaiians for housing, jobs, education, and health-care. I have taken legal and community action to preserve the aloha spirit.
What are your top five priorities for OHA?
1. Stop wasting $50 million on the failed plan to turn Hawaiians into an Indian tribe.
2. Create economic development that advances Native Hawaiians and all residents of Hawaii.
3. Stop racial division and promote the working together of all people.
4. Audit OHA.
5. Hold trustees accountable to law.
What is your one big idea?
“E Hana Kākou — Let’s Work Together! It’s time to stop dividing people and start uniting them. Only by putting aside our political, ethnic, religious, and other differences, can we create the Hawaii our keiki deserve.”
Why are you running for trustee?
OHA is a powerful government agency that impacts every decision involving land, water and society. We need to use it to benefit both Native Hawaiians and all people. OHA must help us build a better economy, government, and society. Running lets me unite with ALL voters for a great Hawaii!
Gov. David Ige has said residential development should not be allowed on the Kakaako Makai lands that were turned over to OHA by the state. How do you believe those lands should be used or developed?
I will oppose OHA’s plans to develop residential towers on the ocean-side of Ala Moana Blvd that are twice the height of other buildings. Hawaiians and all people want to preserve the beauty of nature there. The land is an asset OHA should sell to fund its mission.