Longtime political activist Walter Ritte says he is running for the state House to represent Lanai, Molokai, Paia and Hana. Ritte, 74, said he will be running as a Democrat.
Ritte was one of the Hawaiian elders arrested last year while protesting the construction of the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, and was a leader in the movements to stop the U.S. military bombing practice on Kahoolawe.
He was also a member of the 1978 Constitutional Convention that led to the formation of the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs. In the early 2000s Ritte also led protests on Molokai against farming of genetically modified crops.
Ritte raised his family on Hawaiian homestead lands on Molokai, where he currently lives with his wife, five children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
The House seat that Ritte is seeking is currently held by Rep. Lynn DeCoite, a Democrat who was appointed to the seat by Gov. David Ige in 2015. DeCoite then won election to the seat in 2016 and 2018.