HAPA's Board of Directors composition and core values reflect the diversity of our islands.
Gary Hooser - President
Gary Hooser spent 8 years in the Hawaiʻi State Senate and also served briefly as the Director of Environmental Quality Control under Governor Neil Abercrombie. Gary is also a former Kaua‘i County Council Member. Prior to serving in public office, he owned and managed various small businesses. Gary is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi.
Paul Achitoff is the managing attorney of the Hawaiʻi office of Earthjustice. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and received his J.D. from Columbia Law School. Paul practiced business and environmental litigation in private practice in Los Angeles and Honolulu for eleven years before joining Earthjustice in 1994. Paul handles a wide variety of public interest environmental litigation, including matters arising under the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Hawaiʻi's Water Code and issues pertaining to genetically modified organisms and pesticides.
Nancy Aleck has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has been a community activist and advocate for progressive issues in Hawaii for nearly 40 years. From 2003-2016, she served as the Executive Director of Hawaii People’s Fund. This opportunity synthesized decades of work for peace and social justice under the tagline, Change, Not Charity™. Since retiring, Nancy has slowed her pace, but not her passions.
Andrea Noelani Brower - Co-Vice President
Andrea Brower received her PhD at the University of Auckland. Her research focuses on the possibilities of more socially just, sustainable and democratic global food futures. Born and raised on Kauaʻi, she was previously co-director of Malama Kauaʻi, where she managed numerous projects related to local agriculture, equitable economic pathways, green energy, education and advocacy. Andrea has an MA in Development Studies from University of Sussex, and is a regular contributor to Huffington Post, Common Dreams, Nation of Change, ZNet, among other publications.
Bart Dame - Secretary
Bart Dame is Co-Chair of the Progressive Democrats of Hawaiʻi. He is a master blogger, prolific writer and a strong advocate for progressive values and related issues. Bart knows and understands Hawaiʻi's present and historical political landscape, and is an experienced advocate on State and Federal progressive issues.
Laura Harrelson graduated from UCLA with a degree in communications with a business emphasis and has been an environmental activist for 20 years. She was co-founder of Yoganics, an organic food delivery service in Los Angeles. She was also co-founder of VoiceYourself.org, a website designed to inspire conscious activism, protect the environment and live sustainably. Currently she serves on the Board of Directors for the Haleakala Waldorf School in Kula, Maui.
Ikaika Michael Hussey - Co-Vice President
Ikaika Hussey teaches in the journalism program at University of Hawaiʻi, Manoa. He established The Hawaii Independent, an award-winning civic affairs website, in 2008, and Summit, a cosmopolitan Hawaiʻi lifestyle magazine. Hussey won awards for his coverage of homelessness, and has interviewed leaders such as Alice Walker and Desmond Tutu. His writing has appeared in The Nation and Reuters, and he has been quoted in Democracy Now and Al Jazeera. He speaks widely on media, social justice, and education, including the US Social Forum, the Block by Block journalism conference, and the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations. Ikaika is a volunteer board member on nonprofits dedicated to education, social justice, culture, women's rights, and the environment. Hussey lives with his family in Honolulu and is a performing musician.
Kim Coco Iwamoto - Treasurer
Kim Coco Iwamoto serves as a Commissioner on the Hawai'i Civil Rights Commission. Prior to that, she was an elected member of the Hawai'i Board of Education and served as Chair of the University of Hawai'i's Career & Technical Education Coordinating Advisory Council. In 2013, Kim Coco was honored by the White House as one of 10 LGBT elected or appointed officials who are “Harvey Milk Champions of Change.” She is active in many progressive issues across the islands.
Kaleikoa Ka‘eo is an associate professor of Hawaiian Studies, Department of Humanities, at the UH Maui College. Ka‘eo is a proud graduate of Baldwin High School on Maui and the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. Prior to returning to his hometown, Ka‘eo was a lecturer in Hawaiian language at UH Manoa, a teacher at the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program at King Kekaulike High School and the culture and education program manager for the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission. Ka‘eo was born and raised on Maui. He and his family reside in Waiohuli.
Katie McMillan is a Maui-based event producer whose inspiration comes from creating memorable and uplifting experiences for people through food, art, and music. She is the Founder of TEDxMaui, Maui's largest education conference, which has been seen by over 2.5 million people. Katie is the former Marketing and Community Relations Director at University of Hawai‘i, Maui College where she oversaw the campus’ marketing and public relations efforts and worked closely with community organizations on efforts to further develop a more skilled and globally connected workforce for Maui Nui. Prior to her position at UHMC, Katie directed the public relations efforts for Inner Ocean Publishing Company. She lead successful PR campaigns for numerous national organizations including MoveOn.org, The Blue Frontier Foundation, and Code Pink, Women for Peace. Katie is a graduate of Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Communications. She is also a graduate of The Virginia Women's Institute for Leadership, and was one of the first women admitted into the Army ROTC program at The Virginia Military Institute. Katie has volunteered her services for numerous non profit organizations including MalamaMaui Nui, Hospice Maui and Maui Youth and Family Services.
Michael Miranda has several years of experience in the non-profit sector, specifically in the labor movement and facilitating and developing after school programs. For the past four years, he has been working as a social worker with the State of Hawaii, Judiciary. Michael has keen interests in Filipino culture and volunteers on several local boards with a focus on education and capacity building. Michael lives on Kauai and hunts for free shipping in his free time.
Walter Ritte Jr.
Walter Ritte Jr. is a hunter and Hawaiian activist now working on the restoration of traditional fishponds and educational programs based Hawaiian culture. He was involved in stopping the bombing by the US Navy of the Hawaiian Island of Kahoʻolawe and was one of the Kahoʻolawe Nine who made the first protest landing on Kahoʻolawe on January 4, 1976. Ritte also served in the 1978 Hawaiʻi State Constitutional Convention which established the recognition of Hawaiian Gathering Rights and he was also one of the first elected trustees to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Ritte is married with four children and seven grand children and resides on the island of Molokaʻi, Hawaiʻi.
Karen Shishido is a sustainability consultant in Honolulu working in design and construction. Raised in Waipahu, she attended Occidental College (A.B.) and the University of Delaware, where she received a master's degree in Energy and Environmental Policy. Her research focused on land use and environmental justice in Hawaiʻi. Karen has previously worked as a coastal zone planner and energy analyst for the State of Hawaiʻi. She is passionate about food security, energy, and recovering the democratic process through community empowerment. She has served on the boards of several Hawaiʻi environmental and good government organizations.
Leslie Malu Shizue Miki
Leslie Malulani Shizue Miki is the owner of Abundant Life Natural Foods in Hilo. She was born and raised on Oʻahu, but has lived on Hawaiʻi Island for the last 30 years. Malu is a passionate advocate for healthy agriculture and protecting our natural environment.
Pualiʻiliʻimaikalani Rossi-Fukino is from the ahupuaʻa of Wailua on the mokupuni of Kauaʻi. She holds a B.A. in Hawaiian Studies and in Anthropology from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and an M.A. in Hawaiian Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Since 2007, she has worked as a Hawaiian Studies and Hawaiian Language instructor at Kauaʻi Community College. Understanding that we must look to the past to be successful in our future, Pua has a specific interest in natural resource management and restoring our traditional food production systems. With the same intention, she also works towards the preservation of Kauaʻi's archival materials and serves on the Board of Directors for Kauaʻi Historical Society.
Kekaulike P. Tomich
Kekaulike Prosper Tomich is from the ahupua'a of Ka`ūpūlehu, Kona, Hawai'i. He is a 2012 graduate of UH Hilo with a B.A. in Geography. Kekaulike works in his home ahupua'a at the K Ka`ūpūlehu Dryforest Preserve. He also helps on the family homestead Kukuiohiwai. Kekaulike is a member of the Ka`ūpūlehu Marine Life Advisory Committee which is dedicated to conserving the near shore resources of Ka`ūpūlehu. Ina malama ka honua malama ka honua ia oe (If one cares for the earth, the earth will care for you).
Cade Watanabe is a community and labor organizer. Cade is a graduate of University of Hawaiʻi, Manoa, and a contributing author to "The Value of Hawaiʻi: 2: Ancestral Roots, Oceanic Visions," a collection of essays about protecting and creating wai wai, value, for coming generations (published by the University of Hawaiʻi Press). Cade is a strong advocate for justice and equality for all members of society.