Fourteen Major Labor, Trade, and Civic Organizations Endorse Makana Paris for OHA Trustee At-Large

Aug 3, 2018

HONOLULU — Makana Paris has secured fourteen major endorsements from diverse organizations across Hawai‘i in his bid to rebuild trust in OHA as a Trustee At-Large.  With a combined membership pushing 80,000, and voter reach well beyond their membership rolls, these organizations are poised to help Makana Paris make a big statement in the crowded OHA At-Large primary on August 11th.

  • Hawai‘i Building Trades & Construction Trades Council
  • Hawaiʻi Chapter of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union, Local 625 and the Hawaiʻi Iron Workers Stabilization Fund
  • Hawai‘i Dispensary Alliance
  • Inlandboatman’s Union of the Pacific, Hawai‘i Region
  • International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, Local 132
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 1260
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 1186
  • International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 142
  • International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 50
  • Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi
  • State of Hawai‘i Organization of Police Officers
  • United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 480
  • United Public Workers, AFSCME, Local 646, AFL-CIO
  • UNITE HERE! Local 5, Hawai‘i’s Hospitality and Healthcare Union

Learn more about each of these organizations at:

Some of these organizations, like UNITE HERE! Local 5, have never endorsed an OHA candidate in their decades long-history of frequent and effective political activity.  Yet, these organizations have endorsed Makana Paris for OHA Trustee At-Large.  It all comes back to Makana’s history and ethic of working with others to make Hawai‘i better for Native Hawaiians, and for all of those who call Hawai‘i home.  “Makana brings people together.  He doesn’t seek the spotlight or to take the credit.  He just gets the work done,” said Guy Fujimura, Secretary-Treasurer at ILWU Local 142.

Commenting on his own experience with Makana Paris, Eric Gill, Financial Secretary-Treasurer, Unite Here! Local 5, said: “We have worked with Makana Paris for many years and we have seen that he truly identifies with the people of Hawai‘i and the struggles and triumphs of the workers who call Hawai‘i home.  Makana was one of the first to identify the Public Land Development Corporation’s (PLDC) lack of meaningful public oversight and dangerous exceptions to labor and environmental regulations, and he did not sit on the sidelines.  He demonstrated his win-win philosophy of management and politics by creating a coalition of labor, environmental, and other community groups to repeal the PLDC.  Hawai‘i is stronger for his actions, and we believe that Makana Paris will bring the same empathy for workers, detailed policy understanding, and dedication to coalition building to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.  Makana Paris will make the organization stronger and better able to serve Native Hawaiians and Hawai‘i.”

These endorsing organizations collectively recognize the unique education and experience that Makana Paris will bring to the OHA Board of Trustees.  Makana Paris graduated from MIT, the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law, and the GTU/Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara.  He has worked as farmer, facilities manager, computer technician and networking specialist, teacher, campus minister, environmental-scientist/lab specialist, and advisor to the Hawai‘i Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee.  Makana Paris currently works across the islands as an entrepreneur, consultant, and for the last eight years, as a research and policy analyst for the Iron Workers Stabilization Fund.  Makana Paris also served as the Vice President of ‘Aha 2016 and now as President of the Prince Kūhiō Hawaiian Civic Club.  As Donovan Duncan, Regional Director of the Inlandboatman’s Association said, “In all my years, he is one of the most qualified persons I think ever to run for public office in Hawaii.”

The idea of being empowered by his communities informs Makana Paris’ current decision to run for OHA Trustee At-Large – it is time to give back to those communities that invested in him. The message that now is time for the younger generation to return and invest in the communities they came from, resonates with a growing consensus across the islands.  According to Lincoln Naiwi, President of Hawaiʻi Iron Workers, “It’s about time. We have been waiting for Makana to use his education and experience to help serve the people of this state.  We are proud of him and we support him.”  Donna Domingo, President of ILWU Local 142 says, “Makana Paris has spent his life building relationships in the community.  His campaign is an outpouring of support from people, families and organizations who recognize his dedication, experience and vision.  He is a proven leader we can count on to do the right thing.  He wants to make Hawaii a better place and fulfill the mission and promise of OHA.”

As an OHA Trustee, Makana Paris’ kuleana (responsibility) is limited to serving as a fiduciary for the trust for the benefit of Native Hawaiians and all of Hawaiʻi.  This means refocusing OHA on activities that rebuild trust in the Board, trust in the organization, and the trust itself.  It means investing in activities and economic drivers that will provide housing, jobs, education, and healthcare for both the current and future generations.  Makana Paris has already demonstrated his attention to these issues, working with unions, trade organizations, and environmental groups to find creative solutions for Hawaiʻi’s future.

“The Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi has endorsed Makana Paris’ candidacy for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in 2018, in appreciation of his commitment to protecting the environment. The Sierra Club is putting faith in Makana Paris to help sustain Hawaiʻi’s beautiful environment for generations to come,” said Jonathan Likeke Scheuer, Chair of the Political Committee of the Sierra Club, Hawaiʻi Chapter.  Similarly, “HDA is proud to endorse Makana Paris for OHA Trustee At-Large.  Makana Paris has long advocated that Hawai‘i needs to diversify its economy and find ways to bring good jobs to Hawai‘i that pay a living wage.  Makana Paris has the education and experience necessary to bring the Board together and orient it towards investing in Hawai‘i’s future,” said Christopher Garth, Executive Director at the Hawai‘i Dispensary Alliance.

Makana Paris’s dedication to finding creative, sustainable solutions for Hawaiʻi’s future grows out of his history and experience in the labor movement.  His work in the labor movement has won him many allies who recognize him as the right person to bring change to OHA; change that will benefit the Native Hawaiian communities that the organization is designed to serve. According to Damien T.K. Kim, Business Manager and Financial Secretary for IBEW Local 1186, “We are confident that your support for labor and the concerns of working families in Hawai‘i will guide you in your continuing service in the OHA.”

“We especially hope to find ways to promote the unionization of workers in OHA-funded businesses, thereby providing benefits and protections for Hawai‘i’s workers and families, growing the economy, and improving our communities,” echoed Donna Domingo, President and Local Political Action Committee Chair at ILWU Local 142.  “We recognized Makana’s strong support of labor and construction. He understands labor because he comes from a labor family,” concluded Ryden “Bully” Valmoja, Business Manager and Secretary-Treasurer of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 50.

Yet for all of these potential goals and coalitions, the focus of Makana Paris’ vision for OHA will always be serving the Native Hawaiian people.  “Makana’s education, vision, and commitment to the Hawaiian people, who make up a large part of Hawai‘i’s Union workers, will serve to improve the standing of Native Hawaiians in our community,” said Russell Takemoto, Business Manager at IBEW Local 1260.  “We know that Makana Paris will continue to work hard and do well by our communities,” echoed Joseph O’Donnell, Business Manager and Financial Secretary-Treasurer at Hawaiʻi Iron Workers.

As far as Makana Paris’ vision for his role as an OHA Trustee, it is best summed up by Malcom Lutu, President of the State of Hawai‘i Organization of Police Officers.  “Makana will bring trust and humility to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.  He has experienced the plight of what some Hawaiians go through just to call Hawai‘i their home.  Makana has persevered through education and the love for the people of Hawai‘i.  I am proud of this young man who wants to step up and make life better for the people of Hawaiian heritage.”

In response to the growing number of endorsements he has received, Makana Paris said, “The outpouring of support from the labor community that I have spent the last decade of my life investing in is truly astounding.  I am honored and humbled to receive the support of these esteemed organizations and communities.  A high-proportion of the construction trade unions are made up of Native Hawaiians and I am grateful to each worker and organization for their support and their votes.  I am from a labor family myself, and I will serve as a fiduciary of the trust for the benefit of all Native Hawaiians.  I look forward to working with all of these organizations, and many more across Hawaiʻi to establish sustainable initiatives and programs that contribute to better housing, jobs, education and healthcare for the benefit of Native Hawaiians and all of Hawaiʻi.”

The primary is on August 11th.  There are currently fifteen registered candidates running for three OHA Trustee At-Large positions.  All registered voters may vote for up to three OHA At-Large Candidates, including Makana Paris.

Learn more at:

Donate now to support the Makana Paris for OHA At-Large campaign.

For more information, contact:
Christopher Kuaiwa
Press Secretary, Friends of Makana Paris
(818) 903-4776