Molokai native Colette Machado, chairwoman for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, suffered a stroke Friday evening at the state Capital shortly after testifying in opposition to Senate Bill 1 legalizing same sex marriage.
An OHA news release yesterday said Machado is expected to make a full recovery. “Mahalo to everyone for their thoughts and prayers,” Machado said in the release, adding, “I feel great.”
Machado has served Molokai and Lanai as an OHA Board of Trustee member since 1996 and chair for the past two years.
While Machado, a deaconess with the Ka Hale Hoano O Ke Akua Church, has taken a strong stance against same sex marriage, OHA issued a press release last week saying it was not taking a position on this issue. Any OHA official who has taken a position, OHA said, “has done so in his or her personal capacity independently of OHA.”
In her testimony, Machado stated: “I am not a bigot, and I am not homophobic. I want to acknowledge that on the front end. I’m filled with compassion and lots of aloha because that’s what my DNA is as a Native Hawaiian. I raise this issue on whether or not the fast tracking of SB1 is pertinent, or whether or not it needs more vetting out into our rural communities.”
Machado expressed gratitude to her family and friends, who helped her and called 911 immediately, and for the prayers from her church family.
“It is crucial for a people having a stroke to get to the hospital immediately so they can get the right medication,” she said. “If you think a member of your ohana is suffering from a stroke, call 911 right away.”
Dr. Cherylee Chang, director of the Stroke Center and Neuroscience Institute at the Queen’s Medical Center, said Machado could be released from the hospital as early as Tuesday. Chang said immediate treatment can minimize the long-term effects of a stroke.