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2022 Election: Sam Kalanikupua King

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  • Sam King
Name on ballot:

Sam Kalanikupua King

Running for:

OHA At-Large Trustee

Political party:

No answer submitted

Campaign website:

Current occupation:




Previous job history:

Contracts and Leasing Attorney – Hawaii Medical Service Association
Executive Director – ‘Ohana Kilo Hōkū
Executive Director – Imua TMT
Executive Director – ‘Ai Noa Foundation
Real Estate Attorney – Case Lombardi and Pettit
Clerk, Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii – Chambers of Justice Richard Pollack
Relationships Manager, Strengthening Iraqi Local Governance Project – Research Triangle Institute
Database consultant, Pentagon Renovation Project – The Cram Group

Previous elected office, if any:

Homeowners Association President – 2016-present

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

Extensive experience in project management in simple to complex organizations in multiple countries and cultures has informed my ability to get the job done. I have been entrusted with managing and overseeing projects from the hundreds to the millions of dollars. I’ve managed land transactions, drafted condominium documents, litigated land disputes, managed vendor contracts, and developed policies for community living and workflow management. I successfully created thriving non-profits and collaborated with other native Hawaiians to promote education and astronomy. I know the people of Hawaii and our potential. I am a man of my word. I will get done what I say I will do.

What will be your top priority if elected?

Bettering the conditions of Native Hawaiians through early childhood education programs, homebuilding, diversification of our economy (especially through industries that perpetuate our culture of astronomy, celestial navigation, and natural observation), and fighting corruption and waste inside OHA.

What is one specific change you would like to see in OHA’s operations and what would you do to make it happen?

Effective early childhood education aimed at keiki 0-3 years old, with a component for parental education, is the one policy that shows the most promise for breaking the cycle of poverty and bettering the condition of Native Hawaiians. OHA should work collaboratively with organizations already working in this area, like Kamehameha Schools, the DOE, our charter schools, non-profits, and the Executive Office on Early Learning. OHA currently spends very little money on this critical policy area. I can tell you as a parent of two boys that parents need help too! An investment in our keiki is an investment in our future. I will strive to shift OHA’s focus to this critical policy.

What should OHA do to help alleviate homelessness and increase home ownership among Native Hawaiians?

Homelessness is a housing problem, and we do not build enough houses. Hawaii needs to embrace homebuilding, or accept that our population will stagnate and decline while we watch our keiki move away. OHA should join the movement to advocate for more homes for all the people of Hawaii, which will help Native Hawaiians. Indeed, since we joined the United States, the population of Native Hawaiians has increased with every census. Only today is the population of Native Hawaiians in Hawaii at risk of stagnation and decline, and it is because we stopped building homes.

What reforms, if any, would you propose to make OHA more transparent to the public?

OHA could start by immediately releasing any and all information requested by the State auditor, including executive session minutes. When OHA, a state agency, denies the state auditor the right to review its internal operations, and then engages in lawfare to resist such reasonable requests, it perpetuates the perception that OHA is hiding corruption and insider dealing. OHA must continue to volunteer itself for extensive independent audits of its finances and operations to demonstrate that it remains a pono steward of public land trust revenues.

Do you support or oppose the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island and what should OHA’s role be in the process?

Support. OHA should revert to the position it had when TMT was first proposed, which was to support it. Knowledge to me is life. The quest for knowledge is the fundamental spirit that inspired our ancestors to sail over the horizon and discover these islands! As a Native Hawaiian, I am proud of the contributions our culture has made to astronomy, celestial navigation, and natural observation. It is an honor for our state to provide a home to the most advanced scientific instruments for the study of the skies. TMT on Mauna Kea represents the next chapter in that enduring legacy. I therefore fully support TMT’s construction on Mauna Kea and I fully support the resources it will provide our community, from scholarships to job opportunities for young Hawaiians to study the stars at the most complex level, right here at home.

I also believe in the pono management of Mauna Kea. All people should have access to the Mauna for cultural, spiritual, religious, and recreational purposes. Mauna Kea is a place of dreams and wonder, a feeling borne out of the love we all have for that special place, whatever our reasons. I believe a new management structure is ultimately irrelevant. What matters is that the managers we select have Hawaii’s best interests at heart and that they understand the value of perpetuating Hawaii’s culture of skywatching through contributions to the most advanced scientific research.

What is the most pressing need for the people you seek to represent and what can the Office of Hawaiian Affairs do to address that need?

Poverty. Native Hawaiians suffer the highest poverty rates for individuals and families in Hawaii. OHA’s job is to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians, and therefore ending this statistical shame must be OHA’s highest priority, and it will be mine. The most promising public policy for breaking this cycle of poverty is early childhood education, especially programs that serve keiki 0 to 3 years old and that include a component for parental education. These programs have been shown to stabilize families and reduce incarceration rates over multiple generations, breaking the cycle of poverty. As an OHA trustee I will advocate for OHA to engage more directly in early childhood education research and grant program development. I will advocate for OHA to partner with early childhood educators and non-profits, the DOE, Kamehameha Schools, charter schools, and the Executive Office on Early Learning to more effectively assist beneficiaries with their early childhood education needs. Please read more about this ground-breaking public policy at

Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?

My family has deep roots in Hawaii. My six-times Great-Grandfather Kalaniho`oulumokuikekai, was a chief of O`ahu who died defending O`ahu from Kamehameha at the Battle of Nuuanu. My Great-Great-Grandfather, James Anderson King, was a Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Hawaii. My Great-Grandfather Samuel Wilder King, was the first Native Hawaiian governor of Hawaii and my Great-Grandmother, Pauline Nawahineokala`i Evans, served in the court of Queen Liliuokalani. Their marriage united through love two factions of our society, one supporting the overthrow and one supporting the Queen. My Grandfather, Federal Judge Samuel P. King, co-authored Broken Trust, the book that exposed how Bishop Estate was corrupting the Hawaii State Supreme Court. My parents, Sam and Adrienne King, have been passionate community advocates for years. It is from my family, and especially my parents, that I learned the value of hard work and the importance of community service above service to self.

I was born and raised in Kaneohe on the island of O`ahu. I married a local girl, and her family roots run deep as well, including her Grandfather, Tseguo Imai, who was a combat veteran in the 442nd infantry division. My two boys were born and are being raised here right now. I want to ensure that my boys continue to live in the incredible society I grew up in, and maintain the opportunity to continue improving it. The strife and division I see in our community today is extremely personal not just to me, but also to my ‘ohana. I have chosen to make it my kuleana to safeguard their future, and the blessings that my kupuna have imparted to me. I believe OHA can contribute to that goal by pulling back from political efforts at race-based nation-building and funding bathrooms for protesters, and shifting focus to the bread and butter, salt and poi issues that will better the conditions of Native Hawaiians, like early childhood education, housing, jobs, and fiscal responsibility.

View more candidate questionnaires or see more 2022 Hawaii elections coverage.
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