By Hawaii State Senate
The Hawaii State Senate honored and commemorated the late Hawai‘i County Councilmember Spencer Kalani Schutte during its floor session today. Senators presented his family with a Certificate of Recognition for his advocacy and work to help the less fortunate.
“Councilman Spencer Kalani Schutte’s unwavering advocacy for the poor, the homeless, the physically and emotionally challenged and the elderly has had an abiding impact on our island’s community,” said Senator Malama Solomon (Senate District 4- Hilo, Hāmākua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona) who presented the certificate to Schutte’s family. “His immense contributions will long be remembered.”
While serving on the Hawai‘i County Council, Schutte created numerous public-private partnerships to build low cost housing. He is credited with adding more than one thousand affordable housing units in Waimea, Waikoloa, Kawaihae, North Kohala and Hāmākua. He was also instrumental in establishing the island’s first domestic violence shelter in Hilo. Before that, abused women had to be housed in police station jail cells for their safety.
Born on the island of O‘ahu, Schutte played football at Roosevelt High, and then became a motorcycle patrolman in the elite metro squad in 1962. This squad was created to combat violence and clean up Chinatown. Also while with the Police Department, Officer Schutte helped introduce the first canine unit to Hawai‘i. But this was just the first of several careers.
When Schutte moved to Hawai‘i Island, he eventually became a hog farmer, operating one of the largest, most progressive piggeries in the state. During that time, he became a leader in the Hawai‘i Cattleman’s Association, helping to lay a solid organizational foundation for Hawai‘i’s beef industry. In 1980, Schutte was elected to the Hawai‘i County Council.
Councilman Schutte understood the importance of parks and recreation to a community’s health and well-being, and secured funding to build the Waimea Community Center, a recreational venue that continues to be used constantly under the supervision of the Hawai‘i County Department of Parks & Recreation for community gatherings, trainings, family celebrations, youth and kupuna programs and much more.
Councilman Schutte lost a long battle with cancer on November 28, 2000, but he has not been forgotten. On February 2, 2013, a prestigious new honor was bestowed on him as one of the founding members of an elite group, called “Na Po‘e I Hā‘awi Aku — The People Who Gave.” This new award recognizes outstanding community individuals who unselfishly sacrificed their time to provide leadership within the community to make it a better place for present and future generations.