Hawaii Ocean and Coastal Council Vital to Protecting the Islands' Natural Resources-Bill Pending Before the Legislature Will Allow the Council to Continue Its Work, And Enable the Hawaiian People a Way to Participate in Government

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”’This testimony is presented by the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs (AOHCC) in strong support of the passage of H.B. 2398, which statutorily establishes a permanent Hawaii Ocean and Coastal Council.”’

The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, formed by Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole in 1918 and comprised of 51 Hawaiian Civic Clubs throughout the nation, is the oldest grass roots Hawaiian organization in Hawaii and is mandated through its Mission Statement to take an active interest in the civic, economic, health and social welfare of our community; and, to support programs of benefit to the people of Hawaiian ancestry as well as to provide a forum for full discussion of all matters of public interest. Of vital interest to the public, and to Hawaiians is the issue of ocean resources, its sustainability and its protection.

It has always been difficult for the host culture — Hawaiians — to have a voice on the ground floor in governmental policy. However, In 2005, Gov. Linda Lingle through an executive order established the Hawaii Ocean and Coastal Council (HOCC) to serve as a model for working partnerships between diverse agencies addressing issues of mutual concern and jurisdiction. For the first time, a community organization was included to give voice to critical ocean issues on a policy level. The Council was directed to gather information and provide advice and recommendations on direction and planning for addressing Hawaii

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