Sunday, November 11, 2012

2012 Elections: Pacific Islander Federally Elected Officials

This week America re-elected a President, and elected or re-elected a third of the Senate, the entire House of Representatives, and many state, local and trial officials. As part of our work to raise awareness of America's growing Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander community, the Pacific Islander Access project put together this summary of federally-elected Pacific Islander Americans:
  • Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Congresswoman, Hawaii 2nd District
  • Eni Faleomavaega, Congressional Delegate, American Samoa
  • Gregorio Klili C. Sablan, Congressional Delegate, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands 
The P.I.A. project wishes the best to each of them, especially Tulsi, who I worked with back when we were both Senate staffers, and who now represents the Congressional District I grew up in. 

We also note the departure of U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka, the first Pacific Islander to vote in Congress, and the only Pacific Islander to ever serve in the U.S. Senate. Senator Akaka's life of service is an example for all Americans, because he demonstrated that even in today's polarized political environment, you don't have to choose between your values and your success. Senator Akaka chose both, and when Congress adjourns he will return to Hawaii as a successful legislator who crafted dozens of critical laws for indigenous people, wounded warriors, the federal workforce, and others. He will also take his rightful place as a respected elder in Hawaii politics, and a living treasure to the Native Hawaiian community.

Those of you who've read our blog for some time know that Senator Akaka played a role in setting me down the path that eventually led to the founding of the Pacific Islander Access project.  We know that our little nonprofit is just one of the countless many organizations and groups that the Senator inspired over his career.

So again, congrats to the winners of this year's election, and mahalo nui loa to Senator Akaka for his service to our country. 


No comments: