Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced the appointment of Tom Okamura to the state House of Representatives for District 33, which includes 'Aiea, 'Aiea Heights, Halawa Heights, Halawa Valley and Red Hill.
Mr. Okamura fills the seat left vacant by the Governor's Deputy Chief of Staff Blake Oshiro, who on Dec. 7 stepped down as House Majority Leader to join the administration team.
"Tom is a dedicated public servant with deep, active ties to his district and State of Hawai'i; in him the community is getting a passionate, knowledgeable and well-tested representative," said Governor Abercrombie. "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."
Mr. Okamura previously served as House Majority Leader for nine years while a state representative from 1980 to 2000. He chaired committees on Hawaiian Affairs; Policy; Rules; and Energy, Ecology and Environmental Protection. During that time, Rep. Okamura guided the passage of legislation to facilitate the viability of alternative energy sources for the state and was responsible for amending legislation to give the members of the Hawaiian community a majority vote on the Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission.
Mr. 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. He also co-conceived and assisted in organizing and staffing the Hawai'i State Economic Conference.
In addition, working together with student leaders, he was successful in lifting the moratorium on Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) programs in Hawai'i public schools. The following year, he was able to secure funding for the state's first Navy JROTC program at Radford High School.
Mr. Okamura most recently was an instructor of the Competency-Based High School Diploma Program Moanalua/'Aiea Community School for Adults. The program aids drop-out high school students and immigrants in earning an American high school diploma.
A resident of 'Aiea, Mr. Okamura is a graduate of the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and Hilo High School.