Running for: Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee, at-large seat
Running against: Keli’i Akina, Haunani Apoliona, Cal Lee, Lancelot Haili Lincoln, Keali’i J. Makekau
Birthplace: Pu’unene, Maui
Profession: Coordinator, Hawaiian Learning Center on Molokai
Electoral Win/Loss Record: 1/0
First electoral victory: 1980, OHA Trustee
Supports: HB 2703, which would have set food sustainability standards.
Opposes: La‘au Point and ag land development, cruise ships at Molokai, Kihei.
Gets campaign donations from: Nobody, as of press time.
Walter Ritte is the real deal. He calls himself a “prominent Hawaiian activist and long time advocate for Hawaiian Rights.” In 1976 he was one of the original nine activists who landed on Kahoolawe to protest the U.S. Navy’s use of the island as a bombing range. After six months in prison (where he was reportedly treated as something like a rock star), Ritte joined the 1978 constitutional convention that created the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. He was easily elected as one of its first trustees, but tossed off the board in 1984 following a conviction for illegal night-hunting (in 2000 he was sentenced to a year’s probation after pleading guilty to helping burn down a Molokai Ranch building). Still beloved, and very controversial, he’s spent recent years fighting La‘au Point development and cruise ship landings while trying to make a better life for the Kanaka Maoli.