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The 1978 Hawaii State Constitutional Convention
is regarded to be the watershed political event in the modern State of Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...
. The convention established term limits for state office holders, provided a requirement for an annual balanced budget
A balanced budget is when there is neither a budget deficit or a budget surplus – when revenues equal expenditure – particularly by a government. More generally, it refers to when there is no deficit, but possibly a surplus...
, laid the groundwork for the return of federal land such as the island of Kahoolawe
Kahoolawe is the smallest of the eight main volcanic islands in the Hawaiian Islands. Kahoolawe is located about seven miles southwest of Maui and also southeast of Lanai, and it is long by wide, with a total land area of . The highest point on Kahoolawe is the crater of Lua Makika at the...
, and most importantly created the Office of Hawaiian Affairs
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is a semi-autonomous entity of the state of Hawaii charged with the administration of 1.8 million acres of royal land held in trust for the benefit of native Hawaiians...
in an effort to right the wrongs done towards native Hawaiians
Native Hawaiians refers to the indigenous Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands or their descendants. Native Hawaiians trace their ancestry back to the original Polynesian settlers of Hawaii.According to the U.S...
since the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii
The Kingdom of Hawaii was established during the years 1795 to 1810 with the subjugation of the smaller independent chiefdoms of Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lānai, Kauai and Niihau by the chiefdom of Hawaii into one unified government...
in 1893. The event also created an ambitious project of preservation of the Hawaiian culture including the adoption of Hawaiian diacritical marks for official usage, use of Hawaiian names, etc. The Hawaiian language became the official state language of Hawaii for the first time since the overthrow.
A major outgrowth of the constitutional convention was the launching of the political careers of men and women who would later dominate Hawaiian politics. Delegates to the convention included:
- Carol Fukunaga, future legislative leader
- Helene Hale
Helene Hale is a Hawaii state representative for the fourth district.Helen was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on March 23, 1918. From 1955 until 1963 she served on the County of Hawaii Board of Supervisors. From 1963 until 1965 she was the County's Chairman and Executive Officer .-External...
, future legislative leader
- Jeremy Harris
Jeremy Harris, born December 7, 1950 in Wilmington, Delaware, served as Mayor of Honolulu from 1994 to 2004. A biologist by training, Harris started his political career as a delegate to the 1978 Hawai'i State Constitutional Convention...
, future Mayor of Honolulu
- Les Ihara, future legislative leader
- Barbara Marumoto, future legislative leader
- Joseph Souki, future Speaker of the House
- John David Waihee III, future Governor