2018 Primary Election Candidates

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AHU ISA, Lei (Leina'ala)
Name on ballot:

AHU ISA, Lei (Leina'ala)

Running for:

OHA trustee

District (if applicable):

At Large

Political party:

Does not apply/Nonpartisan race

Campaign website:


Current occupation:

Principal Broker/Adjunct Professor/OHA Trustee



Previous job history:


Previous elected office, if any:

State Representative, State Board of Education, OHA Trustee at large

What qualifies you to represent the people of Hawaii?

1. My mentor, the late (bless his heart) great Senator T.C. Yim requested that I throw my name in the ring in 2014 because he felt it was about time I gave back to help our people. Being a State Representative, State Board of Education member, and now an OHA Trustee, I feel that after being in this office for the past 3 years, there is so much that needs to be done to turn this privileged Board of Trustees around. Another term to help! #FutureStrongOHA #Onipa'a! Maybe the question for me should be “Why hasn’t things gotten better for our beneficiaries?” As a child growing up with my pure Hawaiian tutu, I watched how she and my tutukane lived in poverty….after their land was taken from them because they did not have a ‘paper’ ..a deed to prove it was in our family for years..an issue of kuleana lands. I felt their pain when we moved into the basement of a relative’s basement in Kalihi on Kalani Street… the smell of mold, centipedes living in the make shift shower stall.. And yet, I was taught to hold my head up high. My tutu would say “Stand up straight! Speak the Queen’s English… don’t speak Hawaiian! You study hard so you can get a good job, go to college! No hula dancing because shame to show your half naked self on a stage!” I grew up in a very different world. Being privileged to be raised by such strong women as my Mom and Tutu, I excelled in school…went on to get my PhD all while raising two children (both graduated from Kamehameha Schools) as a single parent. Being a State Representative( Chair of Economic Development Committee), State Board of Education Vice Chair, Business Professor, Exec Director of UH Small Business Management and PKF Hawaii’s Center for Professional Development Exec. Director, Principal Broker for major hotels, etc… I think it’s about time I go back to my roots and give back in whatever way I can help our Hawaiian people. As a Vice Chair of the State Board of Education, I had opportunities to experience the harsh environment our Hawaiian children grow up in. i.e. I’d witness homeless children go to school to eat breakfast ..then run back to the beach after being teased, bullied, shamed! It broke my heart and brought back memories of my childhood at Kalihi Kai School and Kalakaua Inter when I was bullied, teased….
Education is my forte. So as change comes, and it is making itself known more today than yesterday, as the “Huliau” begins, “Life Will Be Better for our people.”
Please watch my video on YouTube called "My Huliau" Lei Ahu Isa.

What are the top three challenges facing the voters you seek to represent?

1) Housing Affordable housing/rentals), 2) Increasing Revenues to the Trust Fund, and 3) Education through Charter Schools, ....and on the back burner, Hawaiian Independence(Sovereignty). This has been an ongoing effort by many many people. I remember Kau Inoa and receiving my ID photo card verifying that I am a Hawaiian member of this endeavor. The “Entity” should be decided by our Hawaiian people… There are lots of very smart, good, caring Hawaiians out there who would make great leaders! A’ole, No Fedwreck at this point in time...as it would just result in the same ‘ole boy network’ controlling everything from the federal to state to cite. The Kanaka Maoli would still be in the same situation as they have been for years… Broken promises, mistrust…

If elected, what will be your highest legislative priority?

To convince the Legislature and the Governor to release the $119M of Native Hawaiian Trust funds(20% of ceded land revenue) being held now by Budget and Finance...that rightfully belongs to the Native Hawaiians for we can provide for our beneficiaries. And, to repeal Act 195 whereby the Legislature mandated OHA to fund our beneficiaries' issues while they capped the ceded land revenue at only $15M every year although the State collects (80% of ceded revenues)increased revenues during better economic times.

If elected, what can you do to improve the lives of your constituents?

Visit YouTube: Lei Ahu Isa and see my previous answers.

Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?

I am willing to serve another term, but I am not viewing this as a "career" position as most others have done with this office.

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