Maui Election

CANDIDATE SPOTLIGHT: Christopher KJ Lum Lee – Candidate OHA

August 6, 2014, 9:29 AM HST
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Christopher Lum Lee

Christopher Lum Lee

By Maui Now Staff

Christopher-Travis Kawaikekoa Jun Lum Lee is a candidate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Oʻahu residency seat. Lum Lee is among a list of four individuals identified as candidates in the race on the 2014 ballot.

The complete list of candidates (in alphabetical order) includes: Peter Apo; Jackie Kahookele Burke; Christopher J Lum Lee; and C Kamaleihaahaa Shigemasa.

Full Name: Christopher-Travis Kawaikekoa Jun Lum Lee
Date and location of Birth: April 1, 1986 in Honolulu, HI
Current residence: Makiki, Honolulu, HI
Occupation: Program Improvement Specialist, Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Elected offices held, if any: Pearl City Neighborhood Board (2007-2010)
Education: Associate of Applied Science Degree in Administration of Justice,
Honolulu Community College; Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Administration, University of Hawaii; Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Chaminade University; Emergency Management Training, Emergency Management Institute
Community Involvement: Pearl City Neighborhood Board (2007-2010); Hawaii Public Health Association Board of Directors (2009-2013); Manoa Lions Club Member (2013-Present)

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Candidate Questionnaire:

1. Are you for or against federal recognition of Native Hawaiians by the US Government? Explain

Answer: I view the road to federal recognition as a means towards other possibilities later. In my conversations with other candidates and people in the community, there are differing views of where a Native Hawaiian governing entity should go. Some say that federal recognition should be the end of the road, while others say that we should be a sovereign nation. In time, the people will make that determination.


I view federal recognition as the first step that will allow Native Hawaiians to officially establish a governing entity, which will then give the governing entity the ability to organize a political, legal, and economic structure. This is the proverbial ‘walk before you run’ analogy. If the ‘nation within a nation’ model is what the people want and comes to fruition, then this model will require the establishing of a governing structure that needs to be solid so that the constituency will benefit and prosper while living under this structure. If sovereignty is the final determination by the people, it would behoove the governing entity to have a sound structure in place because if Native Hawaiians can demonstrate that they’ve organized, developed, and become a self-sustaining entity that is capable of operating without any federal or global interference, a strong case could be made for the benefits of sovereignty and in fact will present itself as living proof.


I understand that there this a lot of contention at this point between parts of the Native Hawaiian community and the federal government, but I believe that federal recognition is the federal government’s way of extending an olive branch towards us in acknowledgment of the overthrow and them wanting to move things forward towards making things right.

It is for these reasons that I adamantly support federal recognition- because I believe that this is the window towards other future possibilities.

2. What do you feel is the best way to facilitate the nation building process? Explain

Answer:  I think the existing nation building process is the best way to go. OHA has taken an unenviable leadership role in facilitating the beginning of the process which is incumbent upon OHA underscored by the duties bestowed upon OHA by the legislature and State law. Is the process perfect? Absolutely not. But I believe that OHA has done what it can with the resources available and as the circumstances dictated.

In looking at the process identified by OHA at, I see the process of nation building being facilitated by OHA being more hands-on until the election of delegates for the ‘Aha at the earliest. At some point the role of facilitator should be out of OHA’s hands and be handed off to the delegates going into the ‘Aha (Constitutional Convention). And I think that’s the way it should be.

***Candidate spotlight segments were compiled as a public service to further educate and inform Maui voters about the upcoming primary election on August 9, 2014, and the general election on November 4, 2014. The questionnaires  were distributed via mail following the primary election candidate filing deadline for select races affecting Maui County.  The responses do not reflect the opinion or position of Maui Now or Pacific Media Group.

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