Lt. Governor Chin recently participated on panel discussions for the Pacific Islander Caucus, hosted by Esther Kiaʻaina, Executive Director, Pacific Basin Development Council, held at the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement Convention. The objective was to educate communities on the overriding issues between Hawaii and the territories.
The first panel discussion was to profile the case of Sai Timeoteo, from Nanakuli, who was disqualified from running for the House seat representing Nanakuli because she is a U.S. national. Under state law, only U.S. citizens can participate and vote in Hawaii elections.
Lt. Governor Chin took part in the second panel discussion with Jocelyn Doane, senior public policy advocate at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and State Senator Kalani English. The focus was on three federal legal cases, ongoing in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The first case involves the USDOJ’s lawsuit against the Government of Guam on the basis that its Chamorro Land Trust violates the Fair Housing Act. The other two cases are federal court rulings in Guam and the CNMI that strike down voting restrictions to indigenous peoples based on Rice v. Cayetano. Guam argued its Davis case in Hawaii on October 10th.
He also spoke on the third panel discussion with Josie Howard, executive director of We Are Oceania and Kehau Yap, field representative for U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono’s Office, Sha Ongelungel, Palauuan activist, and State Senator Kalani English. The topic was on the impact of the REAL ID Act on our Micronesian community living in Hawaii and other parts of the USA. One impact is that, every year, these Freely Associated States citizens must get a driver’s license. There is federal legislation pending to make it uniform across the nation to remedy this ambiguity under federal law.