Guest post by community leader and environmental advocate Kau’i Pratt-Aquino – Why I’m Supporting Kai Kahele

Ballots are arriving. I ask all my friends and family to please vote Kai Kahele for governor in the primary election.

My support is based on my direct personal experience working with Kahele on community issues that are important to us all as kanaka maoli, allies and as regular working-class people. If you support Kai, please encourage your families to vote for him.

He is the person we have been waiting for. I do not say that lightly. Is he perfect? No! But who the heck is?

My experience:
The photo below was taken after our historic win against Alexander and Baldwin, a corporation that has a dark history of corporate water theft in Hawai’i. Their theft has been detrimental to Native Hawaiian communities.

I recall standing on A&B’s doorstep with my mom in 2016 begging them to release the water (after the legislature gave it to them) so our Kupuna could grow kalo to eat and continue their traditional life styles (as outlined in our state constitution). It was a memory I never want to experience in my life again. This experience shaped my life for the next years.

Fast forward to 2019. The take down of A&B was the direct result of Kahele’s courageous leadership in the Senate at a time when no one wanted to stand up to this corporation because how entrenched A&B was in the system.

He did it by calling them out and by bringing together a diverse group of people at a time when other state leaders were trying to destroy his efforts. He delivered the leadership we so desperately needed and we delivered the people. His diplomacy and knowledge were unmatched compared to others.

His leadership demonstrated how we could deliver change in a short time by having strong leadership from the ground up.

He has been on the front line of Red Hill when others did not want to take the lead on this, including Green who has made a false statement in his recent political ad that I find concerning. Green stated he “shutdown” red hill. Red Hill is not shutdown. This statement is a slap in the face to organizations, state leaders (i.e. Ernie Lau) and organizers who have been at it for years.
Kahele called for the return of Makua Valley. He is aloha ‘āina.

Kahele is not the democratic establishment’s choice, Josh Green is. CONTEXT is important so that you can understand the world around you and the information being delivered to you by the media.

While I like and respect Green, he is not my first choice. I respect Green’s work in the pandemic. I choose Kahele based on my values and my community work.

My hope is that whoever wins will have the grace and respect for choice and not use it as a way to retaliate but as an opportunity to build consensus. This is democracy.

In more recent weeks, I have found most upsetting is that there has been an active effort to destroy Kahele not on any real basis.

My mana’o: FIGHT CLEAN.

I am here to defend Kahele and let you know from my personal experience, he works until the wheels fall off LITERALLY-NON STOP.

I believe Kahele has the capacity and strength to bring forth the change that Hawai’i so desperately needs.
His commitment to the people is unbreakable. It is our turn to give back and vote for him.

Guest post by;
Kau’i Pratt-Aquino
Advocate and Community Leader
Founder and principal attorney at Pratt Law Hawai‘i, LLC.
Formerly with Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture, Access to Justice Working Group,’Ahahui o Hawai’i

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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2 Responses to Guest post by community leader and environmental advocate Kau’i Pratt-Aquino – Why I’m Supporting Kai Kahele

  1. Danielle G. says:

    Thanks for your diligence! I am following your advice as to candidates to vote for. Concerning issues for me, are the gentrification of Hawaii. I’ve seen too many families have to leave! Also, climate issues, I don’t want to focus on, but that are staring us in the face! Too, illegal fireworks that am STILL finding plastic remnants of in my yard! I can’t help but think of how much of that has ended up in the ocean to endanger the creatures living there! Not to mention the upset they cause to every BODY when exploded in our neighborhoods. Thanks again!

    • garyhooser says:

      Mahalo Danielle for voting and for the issue comments. Let’s focus today on getting good people elected and then turn to the issues and hold them accountable to deal with those issues. Please help spread the word and encourage people to vote…it’s all about who turns up these coming 3 weeks. Best, gary

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