Our Vision

Empower people-driven political leadership to achieve economic, social, and environmental justice.


Our Mission

 
 
 

Activate and mobilize communities to improve the quality of life for the people of Hawaii, through political action.


Our Story

Pono Hawaiʻi Initiative (PHI) was conceived and created in response to the urgent need to address the accelerating deterioration of societal, economic, and environmental conditions in Hawaiʻi. We are undeniably at a pivotal point where action to slow and reverse these conditions is a moral obligation. Our government institutions and business community are moving at a glacial pace to address the critical issues affecting Hawaiʻi. Or, they are moving us in the wrong direction.

We are witnessing a resurgence of a level of engagement and grassroots activism that we haven't seen in quite some time. Young and old alike across Hawaiʻi, the country, and the world are feeling and responding to that same urgent need. They are engaging in policy making, electoral politics, and community organizing.

Driven by that strong sense of urgency and a keen awareness of pervasive injustice, new leaders willing to challenge the status quo are emerging. PHI eagerly joins that growing chorus of individuals and organizations doing important work to reverse the alarming trends we are seeing in the world today.

With these dynamics in mind, we will be focusing on dual, but parallel approaches:

  1. Accelerating progressive public policy change at the local level through the advancement of grassroots-driven ballot initiatives;
  2. Changing the tone and politics of government by working within existing networks and with partners on every island to aggressively support the election of new candidates for elective office who are champions of and willing to fight for economic, social, and environmental justice.

Now is the time for bold action. Now is the time for significant policy and political change in Hawaiʻi. Working with our friends and allies, and with you, we can create a seismic shift to our State's approach on important issues. 2018 will be the year to begin charting a new course for Hawaiʻi. Together we can ensure that course puts people and the environment above corporate and political greed and obstinacy.

 
 
 
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Josh Frost, President

Engaged in local politics for more than a decade, Josh Frost has experience working with elected officials, state department managers, Democratic Party leaders, and progressive activists. He has a record of leading successful organizations such as Equality Hawaii and Progressive Democrats of Hawaii. And he has been an officer in the Democratic Party of Hawaii since 2010. A recent graduate of HAPA’s Kuleana Academy, Josh is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Political Management from George Washington University. He has worked in state government for nearly six years.

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Patrick Kamakanianu Shea, Treasurer

Patrick is an attorney who is active in the Native Hawaiian Bar Association as a member of its board of directors, a member of Ko’olaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club, and a past president of the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation. He coaches high school paddling.  

Kauʻi Pratt-Aquino, Secretary

Kau'i is a licensed attorney with a certificate in Native Hawaiian Rights. Raised in Kāne'ohe, Kau'i brings over 15 years of community based experience to PHI.  Through her work at INPEACE, she served some of Hawai'i's most vulnerable children and families through community partnerships, public policy, fund development, education, workforce development and culture. In addition, she served on the leadership team to develop services from womb to tomb for Wai'anae families to help build the capacity of the community as a whole. She has been at the forefront of many policy issues on land, water and pono leadership in Hawai'i. She understands wholeheartedly that systemic change must come from the ground up with impacted communities at the center of the discussion to help build viable solutions for future generations.  She is a wife and a mother.  She enjoys spending time with family.

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Kristin Hamada

Kristin is a third generation local girl from Aiea. She is a movement-builder with international training and experience as a grassroots activist. She believes that when people come together we can make improvements to our everyday lives. Her values place communities at the center of our political decision making and creates intersectional, inclusive spaces for activists.

Gary Hooser,

 

Executive Director

Gary Hooser formerly represented Kauai and Niihau in the Hawaii State Senate where he served as Majority Leader. He also served for 8 years on the Kauai County Council and was Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii during the Abercrombie administration.  He serves presently in a volunteer capacity as Board President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.), a 501c3 nonprofit focusing on education and advocacy. He is a graduate of Radford High School, the University of Hawaii (B.A. Public Administration) and Kauai Community College (A.A.).