State Rep. Hanohano at center of DLNR complaint over alleged racist remarks
House Speaker Joe Souki said Tuesday no decision has been made on whether action will be taken against State Rep. Faye Hanohano over allegations that she made inappropriate remarks.
First, a Hawaii Pacific University student alleged Hanohano berated him at a public hearing.
And then, in a letter to House Speaker Joe Souki, State Land Director William Aila cited several instances where Hanohano allegedly made inappropriate remarks to employees at the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Aila wrote that at one meeting, Hanohano allegedly said an employee was "responsible for genocide." In another, she allegedly asked the person if he or she "agreed that land was stolen from many Hawaiians."
Hanohano said she is not a racist and is just doing her job.
"When agencies come to my committee -- Ocean Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs -- when they don't come ... prepared, then I have to ask outside-the-box questions," Hanohano said.
Aila said House leadership asked him to document what his colleagues were telling him about Hanohano.
Hanohano said she is not concerned about the controversy, and that in her two decades serving as an adult corrections officer, she has seen tougher challenges.
"So my first inclination was to request a meeting with her to find out what is going on. Did one of my staffers say something to upset her? Did I say something to upset her? She, for one reason or another, canceled these meetings that we had set up over a period of about two weeks," Aila said.
"He called for a meeting and I was so busy. This is our crunch time. This is our pa'ahana time. We have to ... do whatever we need to move bills forward, and he just wen ho'opunipuni and told a lie that I canceled a meeting. I never cancel meetings," Hanohano said.
Hanohano said if people's feelings were hurt, "So be it," adding that the student did not come prepared to her committee hearing and he didn't know who she was.
"The only reason you call people racist is they're the ones that are racist," Hanohano said. "The word 'racist' does not exist in my vocabulary."
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