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Walter Ritte Running for OHA

Walter Ritte News Release

Longtime community leader and former Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Trustee Walter Ritte has announced his candidacy for the At Large seat for OHA. A Kamehameha Schools graduate, Ritte is a prominent Hawaiian activist and longtime advocate for Hawaiian rights. He is also a member of the original “Kaho`olawe Nine,” the group of activists who landed on Kaho`olawe in 1976 in opposition to military bombings, which they were successful in halting.

Ritte was also a member of the 1978 Constitutional Convention and supported the formation of OHA. He helped author Article XII Sec. 7 of the Hawaii State Constitution, which codified Native Hawaiian cultural and gathering rights.

For the last three decades, he has fought for the protection of Hawaii’s most valuable and fragile resources.

“I am concerned for the life of our islands. Our economy is at war with our natural resources,” said Ritte.

He is known for his opposition to uncontrolled development and strong advocacy for traditional and sustainable natural resources management. In recent years, he has been at the forefront of numerous environmental issues, including the protection of endangered species, the protection of kalo and water rights, advocacy for community involvement in sustainable tourism and advocacy for legislation that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods.

“I want to bring my skills and experiences to help Hawaii and its people, and to malama our future generations.”

A Molokai Hawaiian homestead resident from Ho`olehua, Ritte’s candidacy brings diversity to an otherwise Oahu-exclusive pool of candidates. Ritte would be the only At Large representative from a neighbor island.

Ritte identifies his biggest reason for running for the seat as Aloha Aina and sovereignty.

“We need to deal with the unresolved and un-relinquished sovereignty of Hawaii,” said Ritte. “OHA needs to educate and organize the Hawaiian people and build our nation from the bottom up.”