Maui Election

Sugimura Announces Candidacy for Upcountry Council Seat

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Yuki Lei Sugimura. Courtesy photo.

Yuki Lei Kashiwa Sugimura. Courtesy photo.

By Maui Now Staff

Yuki Lei Sugimura, a longtime Kula resident and member of the Kula Community Association, has announced her candidacy for the Maui County Council Upcountry residency seat (Pukalani, Kula, ‘Ulupalakua).

Councilmember Gladys Baisa will leave the position in 2016 due to term limits. She will have served five consecutive two-year terms, the maximum allowed in Maui County.

“My election to Maui County Council will be a deeper commitment to addressing the needs of Maui Nui and our people, ”Sugimura said. “I want to use my life’s experience to bring people together to listen and solve our problems–together.”


Until recently, Sugimura served as Maui Field Representative for US Sens. Daniel K. Akaka and Mazie K. Hirono.

Currently, Sugimura is vice chairwoman for the Maui County Democratic Party and serves as a State Central Committee member for the state party.

“When you work for so many years in political processes, you learn how you can make a different,” Sugimura said. “We live in a place where an individual can make a difference.”

Previously, Sugimura worked as an economic development specialist in former Mayor James “Kimo” Apana’s administration.


“Over the years, as you bring people together as friends, neighbors colleagues, you hear what residents feel and want from their elected officials,” Sugimura said.

In the late 1990s, Sugimura began working for two of the late Sen. Inouye’s educational programs—Hawai‘i 3R’s, a program for backlog repair and maintenance for public schools, and his “Ready to Learn” campaign, which began collecting back-to-school supplies for needy children in 1998.

Sugimura now serves on Maui Board for Nisei Veterans Memorial Center and is a community organizer for Epic Ohana Inc., a foster youth program. She also worked on “Be a Jerk” Underage Drinking Prevention campaign.

Yuki Lei Sugimura, husband Takashi "Tak" Sugimura and son, Michael.

Yuki Lei Sugimura, husband Takashi “Tak” Sugimura and son, Michael.

Sugimura is highly regarded for her professional community relations work on the Valley Isle, said a press release issued by the Friends of Yuki Lei. For more than two decades, she’s owned Connec Maui, an event planning and promotions company.


Among high-profile community building events, she personally managed: Wailuku First Friday–the monthly community street fair that gave rise to the Friday Town Parties series on Maui and Lāna‘i; the Maui Matsuri Japanese Festival; the Chinese New Year Festival and the annual Festivals of Aloha. She also worked on the ‘Ulupalakua Thing and Upcountry Fair events.

“First and foremost, I’m committed to listening and working together on behalf of residents of Maui County” Sugimura said. “My entire working life always has been about serving people.”

Areas of Interest

  • Help the homeless problem to find a safe place to live and provide services to help them take the next step up.
  • Facilitate the building of affordable rental and affordable market homes.
  • Support the visitor industry one of our key economic drivers.
  • Support small towns and small business.
  • Support food safety, farming, agriculture, HC&S and Haili‘imaile Pineapple.
  • Support clean energy for Maui County with alternative sources including wind, sun, geothermal and ocean.
  • Support the nonprofits as they provide valuable services for our residents.
  • Support STEM education for our youth.
  • Make the County of Maui more cost-effective through the use of technology.
  • Support a safe and healthy community.

A graduate of University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Sugimura is also a proud alumni of Henry Perrine Baldwin High School in Wailuku. True to her Maui roots, Sugimura and her husband, Takashi “Tak” Sugimura, Ph.D., regularly volunteer and support community activities around the county. They’ve been married for 28 years and their son, Michael, is a graduate student at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

For information, call (808) 633-3079 or send an email.


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