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New Hawaii House Leadership Team Empowers Women and the Next Generation

Hawaii State House Speaker Scott K. Saiki announced his full leadership team today. His new leadership team for the House of Representatives will help to empower women and the next generation of leaders at the State Capitol.

From left: Rep. Jarrett Keohokalole, Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, Rep. Mark M. Nakashima, Rep. Dee Morikawa, Rep. Della Au Belatti, House Speaker Scott Saiki, Rep. Cindy Evans, Rep. Henry J.C. Aquino, Rep. Kaniela Ing, and Rep. Justin Woodson

For the first time since statehood, three of the top four leadership positions will be filled by woman and seven of the total 11 leadership positions will be filled by lawmakers in their early 40s or younger. Representatives from all three neighbor island counties comprise nearly half of the leadership team.

From left: Rep. Dee Morikawa, Rep. Della Au Belatti, House Speaker Scott Saiki, and Rep. Cindy Evans

“As we look to build and reform the Hawaii State House of Representatives, it is important to ensure that women and the next generation of leaders are given the opportunity to lead under my tenure as Speaker. We have a real diversity of perspective and life experience in this leadership team that will position us well to lead the state on the many critical issues facing us today,” said Speaker Saiki.

The new House leadership includes:

  • Vice Speaker – Representative Della Au Belatti (District 24)
  • Majority Leader – Representative Cindy Evans (District 7), Hawaii Island
  • Majority Floor Leader – Representative Dee Morikawa (District 16), Kauai
  • Majority Policy Leaders – Representative Jarrett Keohokalole (District 48)
  • Representative Kaniela Ing (District 11), Maui
  • Majority Whips – Representative Henry J.C. Aquino (District 38)
  • Representative Aaron Ling Johanson (District 31)
  • Representative Chris Lee (District 51)
  • Representative Mark M. Nakashima (District 1), Hawaii Island
  • Representative Justin Woodson (District 9), Maui

Hawaii Representative Responds to Sale of Hawaiian Artifacts in Paris

State Representative Kaniela Ing (Chair, House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources, and Hawaiian Affairs) issued the following statement in response to Native Hawaiians who are protesting the sale of certain artifacts in Paris, France.

This flag is just one of many items up for auction

“Here is a rich guy and an auctioneer trying to make millions off  ‘Hawaiian’ artifacts without reaching out to Bishop Museum or to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for authentication. It’s irresponsible, unprofessional, and disrespectful to our culture.

“However, if these artifacts are indeed authentic, we need to find some funds to bring them home for safe keeping immediately. I’m exploring whether state funds are available and putting a call out to all private residents with means. I’m hoping that a hero emerges who will not only buy the artifacts but donate them to the Bishop Museum for all people to enjoy in perpetuity. Hawaiians need to send the message that our ancestors and culture are not for sale.”

Facebook video link: https://www.facebook.com/mehanaokala/videos/10154458709323441/

Hawaii Lawmaker Calls for University of Hawaii Consolidation of Administration

Representative Kaniela Ing, a member of the House Higher Education Committee, responded to University of Hawaii President David Lassner’s decision to end the search for a Chancellor of the University of Hawaii – Manoa campus with a call to consolidate the administrative offices.

Rep. Kaniela Ing

Ing stated that regardless of what Lassner intended, his decision to cease the search for a new chancellor raises some important questions on the efficiency and redundancy in the University of Hawaii’s administration.

“If the president or his administration can provide the services assigned to the chancellor, and the university can still function, why does the chancellor’s office even exist in its enormous capacity? This points to a probable waste of taxpayer and student tuition dollars,” Ing said.

Ing noted a stark change between his time as the Student-President of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii (ASUH) in 2009 and his experience as a legislator today.

“I always felt that the University of Hawaii administration was top-heavy,” Ing said. “When cuts were needed, students and faculty suffer through tuition raises and slashed salaries, while the administration remained bloated. President Lassner’s leadership, through his dual-capacity as Chancellor, has resulted in much greater efficiency.”

Ing is currently writing a House Concurrent Resolution calling for a study to explore the cost savings and other benefits of consolidating the chancellor and president’s offices. Ing claims that this is how the UH administration was structured for most of its existence.

“Tuition and taxes keep rising, making it harder for everyday people to get by. I just want to make sure that working folk’s hard earned dollars are ending up where it counts, and not being wasted in redundant, wasteful, administrative expenses,” he said.

“The last full-time chancellor made nearly $439,000 dollars a year before benefits. Imagine how many students that money could help?”