Senator Malama Solomon Applauds Richard Ha’s Leadership in Agriculture

Submits testimony in strong support of the Hawaii Island farmer’s Board of Agriculture appointment



In written testimony to the chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Malama Solomon (District 9 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, and Kona) expressed strong support for the appointment of Richard Ha to the state Board of Agriculture.

“The challenges that face the agricultural business in Hawai‘i are daunting,” Solomon said in written testimony. “This is why we need Richard Ha’s leadership. His community involvement has given him in-depth knowledge of how the government, public, and private sectors cooperation is necessary so we can decrease our dependency on imported food and increase our local food production.”

Solomon also called to the committee’s attention the unfortunate, unwarranted and unfair scrutiny Ha received over the past week due to a targeted campaign to stop his reappointment.

“These falsehoods have targeted Mr. Ha’s pro-active positions and his strong avocation for the furtherance of geothermal energy development on the Island of Hawai‘i,” she wrote. She pointed out that geothermal energy development would reduce the electricity costs substantially and that it is key to accelerate local food production within the State.

Solomon called Ha an outstanding farmer and praised his holistic approach to agriculture.

Today, the Senate Committee on Agriculture unanimously approved Ha’s appointment with many of the senators praising his leadership in agriculture and willingness to serve amidst unjustified public assaults on his integrity. During discussion before decision making, one lawmaker said that the state is fortunate to have a man of his caliber in this position.

Richard Ha’s nomination will now go to the floor for a full vote by members of the Hawai‘i State Senate.

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Maui’s Keone Kali Confirmed as Chief Information Officer for the Hawai‘i Office of Information Management and Technology

The Senate today confirmed Keone Kali as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Hawai‘i Office of Information Management and Technology. Kali previously served as the State’s Deputy CIO for operations and was appointed by Governor Neil Abercrombie to fill outgoing CIO Sanjeev Bhagowalia’s position when he was appointed as Chief Advisor for Technology and Cyber-Security. Kali also served as the Director of Information Technology and acting Chief Technology Officer for the Pacific Disaster Center on Maui and the CIO for the City of Beverly Hills.


Maui’s Senate delegation join Keone Kali flanked by his parents for a photo after a floor vote confirming Kali as CIO of the Hawai‘i Office of Information Management and Technology

“I am pleased that my colleagues joined me in confirming Keone Kali as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the State of Hawai‘i,” said Senator J. Kalani English, who represents Hana, east and upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i and Kaho‘olawe. “With nearly twenty years of experience in information technology, business development and management, I believe that Kali is the best person to lead the State’s 12-year technology plan to modernize its IT systems.”

“Kali has a proven record of success,” said Senator Roz Baker, who represents South and West Maui. “I have no doubt that under Kali’s leadership, the State will improve the delivery of government programs and services to the people of Hawai‘i.”

“Kali has the experience and skills needed to propel the State’s e-gov goals,” Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran, who represents Wailuku, Waihe‘e, and Kahului. “Embracing new technologies will improve government services and increase its accessibility to Hawai‘i’s residents.”

The plan also emphasizes open government, a concept that has been the centerpiece of Bhagowalia’s IT career. It will reinforce the state’s e-gov goals by improving mobile and online access to all government services, and the planning for it all will involve the people who actually do the separate jobs throughout the government.

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Hawaii State Senate Confirms Judge James H. Ashford to Oahu District Court

(Hawaii State Senate confirms James H. Ashford as a district judge for the First Circuit, located on Oahu.)

Honolulu- In a special session, the Hawaii State Senate today confirmed James H. Ashford as District Judge of the First Circuit, located on Oahu.   He was nominated by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald and was subject to Senate confirmation. Judge Ashford fills the vacancy created by the selection of Dean Ochiai as First Circuit Court judge.

A son of Hawaii and of a well known attorney, Judge Ashford has shown himself to be an individual of great candor.  With his appointment I believe that the people of Oahu will be well-served,” said Senator Clayton Hee, who chairs the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor.

Ashford currently serves as a partner at the law firm of Cades Schutte, where his practice focuses on commercial litigation, including real estate disputes, employment law, construction and condominium disputes, trust and estate litigation and education law. He has tried more than 20 cases in state and federal court and is a regular speaker at litigation and employment law seminars in Hawaii and on the mainland.

Ashford earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Loyola Law School.

He will serve a term of six years.

State Senate Confirms Jobie Masagatani as Chairperson of the Hawaiian Homes Commission

(Senators confirm Jobie Masagatani as Chairperson of the Hawaiian Homes Commission.)

Honolulu –  The Hawaii State Senate today confirmed Jobie Masagatani as the Chairperson of the Hawaiian Homes Commission.  Upon confirmation, Masagatani had been serving as the Commission’s Chairperson Designate.

Jobie is well qualified to serve the people of Hawaii and the constituents of the Hawaiian Homes Commission,” said Senate Majority Brickwood Galuteria, who serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs and Tourism.  “I am confident that she has the vision and commitment to carry out the mission of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands.”

She began her career as a Budget Examiner in the Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President of the United States. She returned to Hawaii in 1990 and worked as a Land Investment Analyst for the Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate.  In 1993, she became a Project Manager for Hawaii Real Estate Research and Education Center at the University of Hawaii.  Masagatani then served as Deputy to the Chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission from 1995-2002.

Subsequently, she took a position as Assistant to the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Queen’s Health Systems where she was instrumental in developing the strategic plan to address Native Hawaiian health issues. Masagatani eventually returned to public service when she was hired as the Public Policy Program Manger at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the School of Education at Northwestern University and continued on to earn a Master’s degree in Public Affairs/Urban and Regional Planning from Princeton University.

The Hawaii State Senate Confirms Ted Sakai as Director of the Department of Public Safety

Honolulu –  The Hawaii State Senate today confirmed Theodore I. Sakai as Director of the Department of Public Safety.  Sakai has been serving as the interim Director of Public Safety since June 1, 2012, when he was appointed by the Governor.

“Mr. Sakai will undoubtedly serve the public well as Director of the Department of Public Safety as this is his second tour of duty in this capacity.  He is very accomplished and experienced in the criminal justice field after working in the profession for over forty-three years,” said Sen. Will Espero, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs.

He previously served as the Director of Public Safety from 1998 to 2002. Sakai received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Hawaii State Senate Confirms Peter Cahill to the Maui Second Circuit Court

(Maui Senators congratulate Peter T. Cahill on his confirmation.)

HONOLULU — In a Special Session, the Hawai‘i State Senate today confirmed the appointment of Peter T. Cahill as Judge for the Circuit Court of the Second Circuit, located on Maui.

Cahill was nominated by the Judicial Selection Commission to fill the vacancy left open by the recent retirement of Judge Shackley F. Raffetto.

“Judge Cahill has established himself as a person of great integrity and diligence,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui, who represents Wailuku, Waihe‘e, Kahului, Pa‘ia, Lower Pa‘ia.  “We are honored to confirm him to Maui’s Second Circuit Court.”

“Judge Cahill possesses the professional experience, exceptional legal skills, and even temperament inherent of a good jurist.  I believe that the people of Maui will be well-served under his judgeship,” said Senator Roz Baker, who represents South and West Maui.

“Judge Cahill’s even-keeled temperament, intellect, and commitment to leadership are characteristics that will make him an asset to the State’s Second Circuit Court and to the people of Maui.” said Senator J. Kalani English, who represents Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka’i, Lana’i and Kaho’olawe.

Cahill currently serves as an attorney at Cahill & O’Neill on the island of Maui, concentrating on injury and wrongful death cases. Prior to his employment at Cahill & O’Neill, he worked as a lawyer at Krueger & Cahill and the Law Office of James Krueger.

Cahill earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Notre Dame Law School.

Hawaii State Senate Confirms Judge Pollack to the Supreme Court

(Hawaii State Senate Confirms Judge Richard W. Pollack to the Supreme Court.)

HONOLULU – In a Special Session, the Hawaii State Senate today confirmed Judge Richard W. Pollack as an Associate Justice to the Supreme Court.  He was nominated by Governor Neil Abercrombie and was subject to Senate confirmation.  Justice Pollack fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice James E. Duffy, Jr.

“We are confident that Justice Pollack will serve the Supreme Court well with his extensive experience as a judge in the Circuit Court,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui.  “We believe he will uphold our state constitution and work to ensure that the laws are applied fairly, equally and appropriately for all the people of Hawaii.”

“Judge Richard Pollack will be a valuable asset to the Hawaii Supreme Court.  His compassion, integrity and knowledge of the law will guide him in service to the people of Hawaii.  I am honored to have Chaired his confirmation,” said Clayton Hee, Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary and Labor.

Justice Pollack, 61, has been serving as a judge in the Circuit Court since 2000, presiding over the civil and criminal trial calendar. During that time period, he served as a substitute justice and substitute Intermediate Court of Appeals judge on numerous occasions.

Justice Pollack is an adjunct professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law where he currently teaches Law of Evidence and Criminal Procedure. Prior to his appointment to the Circuit Court bench, Justice Pollack served as the State Public Defender from 1987 to 2000.  He managed a statewide office of 99 attorneys and was actively involved in appellate work during his tenure.

Senate to Hold Special Session to Consider Judicial Nominees

Honolulu- The Hawaii State Senate will meet in a special session on June 28 and June 29, 2012 to consider appointments to fill vacancies on the State Supreme Court and Maui Circuit Court. Appointees under consideration include Richard W. Pollack and Peter T. Cahill.

Judge Richard W. Pollack was appointed by Governor Neil Abercrombie on June 5, 2012 to serve as an Associate Justice on the State Supreme Court. Judge Pollack has been serving as judge of the Oahu First Circuit Court since 2000, where he presides over civil and criminal calendars. If confirmed by the Senate, this appointment will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice James E. Duffy, Jr.

On June 14, 2012 the Judicial Selection Commission appointed Peter T. Cahill to fill a position opened by the recent retirement of Judge Shackley F. Raffetto from the Second Circuit Court, located on the island of Maui. Cahill currently serves as partner at his own firm, Cahill & O’Neil.

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor will hold public hearings on the appointments of Judge Pollack on June 22 and Peter Cahill on June 26, 2012. Both hearings are scheduled at 11:00 a.m. Following the submittal of the committee’s recommendations, a final vote by the full state Senate will take place on June 29, 2012.

Hawaii State Senate Confirms Maui Resident Adrianne N. Heely as District Family Court Judge

HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Senate today confirmed Adrianne N. Heely as judge for the District Family Court of the Second Circuit, located on Maui.

Judge Heely’s diverse professional experience as an attorney in various aspects of government operations and within the Judiciary is highlighted by her strong integrity and credibility,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui, who represents District 4 (Wailuku, Waihee, Kahului, Paia, and Lower Paia).  “I am confident that she will serve with honor and fairness on the bench of Maui’s Family Court.”

Judge Heely has demonstrated the ability to analyze complex issues from all sides, which is a characteristic fundamental to a fair and just jurist,” said Senator J. Kalani English, who represents District 6 (Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, L?na‘i, and Kaho‘olawe).   “She is highly respected in our community and I have no doubt that she will serve Maui proudly.”

Judge Heely’s attitude, intellect and leadership will serve her well in handling the demands of district court.  Also, over the course of her career, she has displayed decisiveness and fairness in her decision making that will serve her well as a judge, and bodes well for the community,” said Senator Roz Baker, who represents District 5 (South and West Maui).   “Maui County is fortunate to have someone so well-qualified and interested in public service as Adrianne.”

A Kamehameha Schools graduate, Heely earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara.   She earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Heely currently serves as a Deputy Corporation Counsel for the County of Maui, where she is team leader for the Counseling and Drafting Section’s Finance, Public Safety, and Human Resources Team.  Active in providing pro bono services to the legal community and the community as a whole, she was recently appointed to the Board of Examiners of the Hawaii Supreme Court.  Heely serves as Vice President for the Maui County Bar Association and was the immediate past chair of the Hawaii State Bar Association’s Government Lawyer’s Section.

 

Senate Confirms Molokai Farmer Lynn Decoite as a Member of the Board of Agriculture

Honolulu- The Hawaii State Senate today confirmed Lynn Decoite to the Board of Agriculture. She will serve until June 2016.

Decoite has many years of agricultural experience. She is the current owner and ranch handler for V-8 Ranch, where she handles breeding, branding, irrigating, and the overall maintenance and management at the ranch. She is also the owner and manager of L&R Farm Enterprises, LLC, overseeing the daily operations of planting, harvesting, irrigating, and marketing produce.

Ms. Decoite’s extensive and diverse knowledge of farming and agriculture makes her a well-qualified member of the Board of Agriculture,” said Sen. J. Kalani English, who represents District 6 (Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, and Kaho‘olawe). “As a former member of the Molokai Irrigation System Water Users Advisory Board, her experience with complex water issues facing the agricultural industry on Molokai will be valuable to the Board.”

Decoite is a Hawaiian homestead farmer who has also established a value-added sweet potato chip business that utilizes the sweet potato grown on her farm.

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