Two to face off in general election for Maui OHA seat
Incumbent Office of Hawaiian Affairs Maui Trustee Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey will be challenged by Mahealani Wendt, the former head of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. in the fall election.
The two will face off in the general election Nov. 4 because they are the only two candidates who filed for the seat by Tuesday’s deadline, said Rex Quidilla, spokesman for the state Office of Elections.
All registered voters in the state are eligible to vote in all OHA races, Quidilla added. The races are nonpartisan.
Lindsey will try to reclaim the seat she won in a vacancy election held Nov. 6, 2012, following the resignation of Maui OHA Trustee Boyd Mossman on Nov. 1, 2011. Mossman left his OHA seat to become president of the Kona Hawai’i Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Lindsey initially was appointed to the seat as an interim trustee by Gov. Neil Abercrombie until the election could be held. Abercrombie made the appointment after the OHA board reached an impasse after several rounds of voting on nominees.
Lindsey of Makawao is the owner/broker of Lindsey Realty and owner of Kahulu Productions, a company specializing in Hawaiian entertainment productions for corporate visitors to Maui in resort hotels, according to information from OHA.
She is also a 2012 recipient of the Kupa Maka’ainana Award from the Central Maui Hawaiian Civic Club and a member of the Ahahui Ka’ahumanu Maui Chapter. This year, the longtime entertainer won her first Na Hoku Hanohano Award as female vocalist of the year for her third album “A He Leo Wale No E.”
Wendt has 32 years of experience as the former administrator and executive director of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., where she focused on Native Hawaiian land, natural resources and traditional rights.
The Wailuanui resident also represents Maui Nui on the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.
She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Hawaii Women Lawyers in 2009. In the same year, she received the Native Hawaiian Advocate Award from the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.
The other OHA races this election year include the OHA Oahu residency seat, featuring four candidates, and the OHA at-large (no island residency required) seats. There are 16 candidates vying for the three nonresidency seats. No candidates for the at-large seat listed a Maui County address, according to an Office of Elections candidate list.
Because there are multiple candidates for the OHA Oahu and at-large seats, candidates will be placed on the primary election ballot Aug. 9, Quidilla said. If any candidate in the primary election receives more than 50 percent of the votes cast, that person will be elected and not have to run in the general election, according to the Office of Elections.
For more information on voting for OHA elections, go to hawaii.gov/elections/factsheets and click on Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.