Governor Josh Green, M.D., has announced the nomination of Kali Watson as the new Director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) and the Chair of the Hawaiian Homes Commission. Watson previously served in these roles and has extensive experience working in the Hawaiian homesteading communities.
In response to his nomination, Watson expressed his gratitude and excitement to continue the important work of the DHHL program. With the recent $600 million settlement from the supportive legislature, Watson believes that much more can be accomplished if everyone works together to fulfill the mission of the Hawaiian Homestead Commission Act. Watson has a track record of success in coordinating the development of residential lots and acquiring land for the DHHL trust.
Watson is also known for his work outside of the DHHL program. He established the nonprofit Hawaiian Community Development Board, which has built or refurbished more than 1,400 affordable homes for Hawai‘i’s people on O‘ahu and Maui.
Governor Green is confident that Watson’s nomination will receive the necessary support from state senators and the community, especially given the critical time that Hawai‘i is currently facing. Watson’s nomination, along with the nomination of Deputy Katie Ducatt, requires the advice and consent of the Hawai‘i State Senate. Until Watson is confirmed and sworn in or the end of the current Legislative Session, Ikaika Anderson, whom the Governor appointed prior to the 2023 Legislative Session, will remain in the seat.