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Saturday, January 19, 2019
Ige Announces More Second Tier Appointments
By News Release @ 10:38 AM :: 5589 Views :: Hawaii State Government


News Release from Office of the Governor, Jan 18, 2019

HONOLULU – – Gov. David Ige and Department of Public Safety (PSD) Director Nolan Espinda announced the appointment of Maria Cook as the Department of Public Safety deputy director for Administration. Cook will begin her new position, effective February 1, 2019.

“Maria will bring valuable insight and experience to the department in her new role,” said PSD Director Nolan Espinda. “She has a wealth of employment and labor relations experience and will provide effective leadership and accountability to ensure that the division operates efficiently.”

Cook is a veteran deputy attorney general with 20 years of experience working in the Employment Law Division of the Department of the Attorney General, representing the interests of the state’s Executive, Legislative, Judiciary, and other state agencies in all employment and labor matters.

Cook has a wide range of experience in public employment and labor matters, including civil litigation and related appeals, agency appeals, workers’ compensation, and collective bargaining, including interest arbitrations relating to new collective bargaining focused on presentation and analyses of state finances. She also provides advice and counsel to all state departments and agencies relating to personnel, employment, and labor matters.

She earned her law degree from Loyola Law School in California, with membership in the Phi Delta Phi Law Honor Society, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.

In addition, Director Espinda reappointed Renee Sonobe Hong as deputy director of Law Enforcement, a position she’s held since January 2017.

“I am humbled and grateful for the honor and privilege to continue to serve our community as part of the public safety team,” said Sonobe Hong. “I am excited to continue working with our law enforcement, judicial, and other partners to promote the safety and well-being of the people of the State of Hawaii.”

Sonobe Hong most recently served as state sheriff for PSD. Prior to that, she was deputy attorney general for PSD, Hawaiian Home Lands and the Housing Division, as well as deputy corporation counsel and a deputy prosecuting attorney.

Director Espinda also reappointed Jodie Maesaka-Hirata as deputy director of Corrections, a position she’s held since January 2016.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve in Gov. Ige’s administration these past three years. I thank him and Director Nolan Espinda for providing me the opportunity to continue to work with the Department Public Safety to improve the lives of those incarcerated, through meaningful rehabilitative services,” said Maesaka-Hirata.

Maesaka-Hirata previously worked for the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney from 2014 until her appointment to deputy director for Corrections. Prior to that, she worked for the Public Safety Department from 1992 to 2014 in various capacities.

These appointments are not subject to Senate confirmation.

Link to photos and resumes here

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News Release from Office of the Governor, January 15, 2019

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige made several appointments and re-appointments on Tuesday, Jan. 15, all subject to Senate confirmation:

Audrey Hidano is re-appointed to serve as deputy comptroller at the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS), a position she has held since April 2015. Prior to joining DAGS, Hidano served as deputy director at the Department of Transportation and the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Hidano is co-founder of Hidano Construction, Inc., where she served as secretary and treasurer. She was also co-owner of Rim-Pac, Inc. and a public affairs analyst at Hawaiian Telcom (formerly Verizon and GTE Hawaiian Tel).

“I am honored and thrilled to continue to serve. I look forward to working with Governor Ige and State Comptroller Curt Otaguro as we address the needs of our state, our employees and the people of Hawai‘i,” said Hidano.

Leonard Hoshijo is appointed to serve as deputy director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR). He has worked at DLIR since 2015 as deputy director and director.

Previously, Hoshijo worked as the education and political director for the Hawai‘i Regional Council of Carpenters. He was also housing representative, organizer, international representative and international vice president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

Hoshijo’s community work includes serving on the Labor Education Advisory Board, University of Hawai‘i Center for Labor Education and Research, director/officer for the Hawai‘i Labor Heritage Council, and Blood Bank of Hawai‘i trustee.

Robert Yu is appointed to serve as deputy director of the Department of Budget and Finance.

He is a certified public accountant who has spent the bulk of his career at O‘ahu Transit Services, Inc, as senior vice president and deputy manager, senior vice president of Finance and Administration and chief internal auditor. Yu also worked at Hawaiian Electrical Industries and is currently chief financial officer at Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation where he has worked since 2017.

Yu has also served in community leadership roles with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the See Yup Society Hawai‘i.

“I look forward to joining the administration and working with the governor’s team. There are many challenges that the state is facing, and I hope to contribute toward finding solutions and moving ahead,” said Yu.

Link to photos and resumes here 

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News Release from Office of the Governor, Jan 14, 2019

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige and Department of Transportation Director Jade Butay announced the following appointments on Monday, Jan. 14:

Lynn A.S. Araki-Regan is appointed by Gov. David Ige as first deputy, Department of Transportation Administration. She was previously employed with the County of Maui, serving as the economic development coordinator, budget director and the mayor’s chief of staff. Araki-Regan is also an attorney, with 22 years of experience in litigation, commercial transactions, creditor’s rights and landlord/tenant law.

She has a law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai‘i, a B.S. in accounting, and she graduated summa cum laude from H.P. Baldwin High School on Maui.

“I am grateful to Governor Ige for the opportunity to continue serving the public by managing and directing the administrative operations and functions of the DOT.  As the needs of our state are continuously changing, I look forward to working with Governor Ige and Director Butay to move the department forward in addressing the needs of our state and the people we serve,” said Araki-Regan.

This appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

HDOT Director Jade Butay made the following appointments:

Derek J. Chow is appointed Harbors Division deputy director, overseeing 10 commercial harbors across the state. Chow is the former chief of the Civil & Public Works Branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District. His work experience also includes serving as chief of the Water & Infrastructure Division, U.S. Forces – Kabul, Afghanistan, and as resident engineer Danger Resident Office, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Tikrit, Iraq.

“I am glad to join Governor Ige’s team in maintaining the efficient operations of Hawai‘i’s commercial harbors and carrying out his harbor system modernization plans that are critical to Hawai‘i’s economic future,” said Chow.

Ross Higashi is being re-appointed to serve as the Airports Division deputy director, overseeing 15 state airports across the state. Higashi is overseeing billions of dollars in modernization and facility improvement projects. He has served as HDOT interim director, interim deputy director and fiscal management officer for the Airports Division. Higashi has more than 25 years of public service in state government. He received his B.A. in accounting from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

“I am humbled to be given the opportunity by Governor Ige to provide continuity and oversight of the many ongoing airport modernization projects throughout the Airport System, in addition to maintaining our financial position and bond ratings.  I would like to recognize the work accomplished by our dedicated airports capital project and operations management team and staff who have contended with increased passenger traffic and ongoing construction work as a 24/7 operation over the last 4 years.  We look forward to implementing additional projects to adapt to the increase in anticipated passenger traffic and further modernize the airport system to improve efficiency for all stakeholders,” said Higashi.

Ed Sniffen is also being re-appointed to serve as the Highways Division deputy director, overseeing improvements and maintenance of about 2,500 lane miles of state highways. Sniffen was previously executive assistant to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. He also served as DOT Highways Division administrator and as technical design engineer in the Highways Division Design Branch. Sniffen is a civil engineer, having received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Santa Clara University.

“I have been honored to serve in Governor Ige’s administration for the past four years. Mahalo to the committed staff at HDOT who have accomplished so much in that time. I’m looking forward to working closely with the communities we serve to improve quality of life and support Governor Ige’s top priorities,” said Sniffen.

The appointments of Chow, Higashi and Sniffen are not subject to Senate confirmation.



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