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2022 Election: John D. Waihee IV

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Name on ballot:

John D. Waihee IV

Running for:

OHA At-Large Trustee

Political party:

No answer submitted

Campaign website:

No answer submitted

Current occupation:

Office Of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee At-Large



Previous job history:

No answer submitted

Previous elected office, if any:

No answer submitted

Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.

I believe that being involved in managing the Native Hawaiian Trust Fund for the past 18 years has given me the skills to prudently invest our assets. Under my leadership as Chairman of OHA’s Committee on Resource Management we consistently increased our grants budget while lowering our total operating costs, and under my leadership as Chairman of the Committee on Beneficiary Advocacy and Empowerment we produced several of OHA’s most successful Legislative sessions in terms of Board initiatives signed into law.

What will be your top priority if elected?

Housing for our beneficiaries.

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

I would like the Board to hire an investment advisor that reports solely to itself to review the performance of the Native Hawaiian Trust Fund, assess asset allocations and money managers, and provide recommendations as needed to increase our portfolio’s values.

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

Unfortunately, there really is no silver bullet when it comes to this issue. OHA should advocate for more public housing in Hawaiian communities at the state level. OHA could also partner with other state agencies like DHHL using some of our own resources as an incentive. We should give out more grants to nonprofit agencies that help get people into homes. It’s going to need to be a group effort.

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

I’d propose an OHA maintained official searchable website, accessible to the public, that discloses: budget reports, Trustees’ voting history and conflicts of interest, administrative records, ethics and audit information, as well as data on OHA contracts.

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?

As a sitting trustee, it’s prudent for me to support the board’s current position of being “neutral” on the issue of the TMT. I still believe, however, that we have an obligation to protect Mauna Kea and its resources as a critical part of the public trust that the state is constitutionally bound to preserve for the future generations of Hawaii. For this reason, I supported our lawsuit against the state of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, and DLNR for neglecting to manage Mauna Kea properly. I would also support bringing additional lawsuits against activity on Mauna Kea that violates laws dealing with environmental, cultural, or historic preservation. That would include the construction of the TMT if it were to violate such laws.

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?

I would say housing, but since I’ve already discussed that issue in a previous answer, I would also advocate for employment, and health care. OHA should target our grants to nonprofit agencies that serve those objectives. Also, we should advocate for public programs to address these issues in Hawaiian communities at the State level. And finally, we should have OHA partner with other State agencies to address those issues using some of our own resources as an incentive.

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

It has truly been an honor to serve as an OHA Trustee for all these years and be entrusted as a steward of the Native Hawaiian Trust Fund. Whatever the future may hold, I will be forever grateful for these opportunities the people of Hawai‘i have blessed my life with.

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