Short-time state Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee incumbent Carmen "Hulu" Lindsey can now get a permanent nameplate for her board seat after defeating six other candidates Tuesday for Maui's residency seat.
Lindsey won a controversial special election to replace retired Trustee Boyd Mossman, who left almost a year ago to pursue a volunteer church leadership position. Lindsey, a businesswoman and entertainer, won with 13.1 percent, or 55,299 votes, with 244 of 250 precincts counted.
"I have so many things in my mind for the future, but first I want to say thank you to all the people who voted for me and supported me considering that there was some disarray in our community," Lindsey said.
Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey defeated six other candidates
Lindsey was criticized for changing her mind - she said at the behest of her colleagues and residents - and deciding to run after being appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on an interim basis. The governor had stepped in for what was supposed to be a nonpolitical selection after the board deadlocked on a replacement, but didn't oppose Lindsey's decision to campaign.
"Obviously, the people saw how hard I worked in the 10 months I was there and decided that they wanted me to continue serving them," said Lindsey.
At Maui County polls, Lindsey trailed former County Council Member Dain Kane, who received 23.2 percent of the vote, while Lindsey took 14.2 percent. But it was the statewide numbers that counted most in the end.
Lindsey was unfazed. She said she is looking forward to using her real estate background to help develop the Kakaako Makai properties, which OHA received in a $200 million ceded lands settlement with the state.
She said she next wants to help lead the effort to create a master plan to eventually create new OHA revenue steams - which she would make sure gets to Maui - by developing the waterfront areas near downtown.
She also said she has almost completed a deal with Maui developer Everett Dowling to place archaeologically significant sites at a development in Palauea in permanent preservation. Lindsey said the plan she's spearheading would make the University of Hawaii the land's stewards and researchers.
"I think what is really exciting for me is that we will be moving ahead with our sovereignty a nation within a nation, and we are looking at every avenue available to us to attain that goal," Lindsey said. "It's going to be hard work, and we're going to work hard on it."
Kane said that despite losing out to Lindsey, he saw his performance under a tight statewide campaign and excellent local performance as a sign to "look forward to continuing in public service."
"I'm really humbled by the support from Maui," Kane said. "The people here really came out for me. Words almost can't express how happy we are."
He added that he wished the best for Lindsey and her time in office.
Kane said he isn't sure exactly what elected office he may seek, if one at all, but will gauge "the pulse of the people" in order to decide what to do next.
Here were the percentage totals of the remaining candidates:
* Ke'eaumoku Kapu, 7.5 percent.
* Doreen "Pua" Gomes, 6.5 percent.
* Glenn G. Au, 5.6 percent.
* Rose Duey, 4.6 percent.
* Johanna Kuulei Shin Amorin, 3.8 percent.
* Chris Hamilton can be reached at email@example.com.