By Wendy Osher
Former State House Representative Tom Okamura returns to the state legislature, filling the post left vacant by Blake Oshiro.
Oshiro stepped down from his role as House Majority Leader on December 7 to join the governor’s administration as Deputy Chief of Staff.
Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced the appointment of Okamura to the state House of Representatives for District 33, which includes ‘Aiea, ‘Aiea Heights, Halawa Heights, Halawa Valley and Red Hill.
“Tom is a dedicated public servant with deep, active ties to his district and State of Hawai’i,” said Gov. Abercrombie.
“In him the community is getting a passionate, knowledgeable and well-tested representative. I am confident that he will bring openness, accountability and innovation to the state Legislature, as he has demonstrated in the past in support of renewable energy and the empowerment of the native Hawaiian community and other members of our island ‘ohana,” said Gov. Abercrombie.
Okamura served as a State Representative from 1980 to 2000. During nine of those years, he was House Majority Leader. Okamura also chaired committees on Hawaiian Affairs; Policy; Rules; and Energy, Ecology and Environmental Protection.
In his former capacity, Rep. Okamura is credited with guiding the passage of legislation to facilitate the viability of alternative energy sources for the state. He was also responsible for amending legislation to give the members of the Hawaiian community a majority vote on the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission.
According to the Governor’s office, Okamura conceived, organized and chaired the Hawai’i Democratic Action Movement, an inclusive grassroots effort involving over a thousand community leaders to develop legislative priorities, and to create broader voter participation.
Okamura most recently was an instructor at Moanalua/’Aiea Community School for Adults under a program that helps drop-out high school students and immigrants in earning an American high school diploma.
Okamura resides in ‘Aiea, and is a graduate of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and Hilo High School.