State lawmaker responds after controversial statements

State Rep. Faye Hanohano seems to be a lightning rod for controversy, and it’s a role she relishes.

“I’m really a warrior from Puna,” she said. “I really represent my people well in what I do because I’m always the voice.”

Hanohano made headlines criticizing artwork in her office as non-Hawaiian and recently, a student testifying before a committee claimed she was rude to him.

Some are asking whether her comments are fitting for a state lawmaker. “We need to provide decorum and civility to anyone who comes in to testify,” said House Speaker Joe Souki. “And we have been advised from day one that we should do that.”

Souki says he will meet with Hanohano to discuss the situation at length.

Rep. Hanohano, who represents the Puna district of the Big Island, insists she is merely speaking for her constituents. Those outside the loop say this is a sensitive situation.

“The speaker will proceed diligently, but delicately because there’s always two sides to every story and you never know what that day might have been like for either party,” Sen. Brickwood Galuteria said.

Rep. Hanohano concedes there can be misunderstandings when it comes to differences between Hawaiian and western culture.

“I’m going to have to clarify what happens or what the meanings were and if people find it it offensive,” Hanohano said. “Then I would really suggest that they take some courses in Hawaiian culture.”

We’ll have more on the upcoming meeting between Souki and Hanohano. In the meantime, Hanohano said, “I’m not giving up. I’m just more oni paa, just more solid. Just more kulia ika nuu – strive for the highest.”

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