Republican Minority Voted Hawaiian Cause

By: Trustee Rowena Akana
March 17, 1997

Source: Honolulu Advertiser; Letters to Editor

In response to your banner headline, “Some Hawaiians feel threatened by legislation,” I would like to alert the public how the 51 legislators voted on the legislation in question known as HB 2207, a rushed and ill-conceived effort sure to result in future lawsuits because it attempts to slash Hawaiians’ legal share of ceded land revenues by as much as 80 percent.

The compassionate Republican minority almost unanimously rejected HB 2207 (the exception was Barbara Marumoto). Nine humane Democrats stood up to party leadership and voted against the bill: Dennis Arakaki, Eric Hamakawa, Mike Kahikina, Hermina Morita, Scott Saiki, Alex Santiago Mark, Takai, Roy Takumi and David Tarnas.

In favor of the bill were 18 Democrats, including Speaker Joe Souki and those willing to go along with him. Finally, 13 legislators, including three part-Hawaiians, cast kanalua votes, apparently in an effort to indicate they were neither for nor against the measure. They knew, however, that their kanalua vote would be counted as being in favor of the bill.

Hawaiians and those who sympathize with our condition must become more involved with what their representatives are doing at the State Capitol on their behalf. Even those not considering a change of party should only support candidates committed to our well-being and fair treatment.