Hawaii’s past and present are rich and unique as will be our future. At the very core of our Hawai’i are its indigenous peoples and culture.
Representing the roughly 150,000 residents of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander ancestry in Hawaii’s First District is my special kuleana (responsibility), which is why I work to ensure our federal government respects and protects our Natural Hawaiian culture, language and people. Addressing these concerns is not only important to Hawai‘i but also to Native Hawaiians wherever they live as well as to other indigenous peoples and communities throughout our country who have similar concerns.
As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on the Indigenous Peoples of the United States and otherwise, I am committed to addressing the issues and priorities that impact our Native Hawaiian community especially on the federal level. In coordination with my colleagues, I am focused on passing and improving legislation such as the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act of 2019 and the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act. I am also working to ensure that Native Hawaiians are properly counted in the 2020 Census and our federal government honors its trust responsibility with our nation’s indigenous people.
Especially through my service on the House Committee on Appropriations, I am devoted to securing full funding of not only national programs affecting all indigenous peoples but also specific programs of benefit to Native Hawaiians. For example, I have requested and helped secure funding for the Native Hawaiian Health Care Program, the Strengthening Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Program and the Native Hawaiian Education Program. I am also working to support the Office of Native Hawaiian Relations at the Department of Interior, which helps preserve and promote the Native Hawaiian relationship with our federal government.