WASHINGTON – Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) on March 29 announced her state staff, including Alan Yamamoto, former aide to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, as her state director.
“While my staff works directly for me, they are working first and foremost for the people of Hawaii,” said Hirono. “This strong team will help me bring Hawaii’s voice to Washington as my eyes and ears in the islands.
“Alan is an experienced leader in our state who knows how to get results for Hawaii. Throughout his career in the public and private sectors, Alan has developed partnerships with leaders in Hawaii and Washington, and those experiences will help me deliver for the state.”
Yamamoto brings 14 years of congressional experience in both the Senate and the House, most recently as a senior legislative assistant for Inouye. Yamamoto worked closely with federal, state and county officials in Inouye’s office, helping Hawaii agencies identify and compete for federal support during challenging economic times. He also brings years of experience as an executive in Hawaii’s private sector.
As state director, Yamamoto will lead Hirono’s Hawaii operation. A resident of Kailua, he graduated from Punahou School and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Claremont McKenna College.
Hirono also announced her full state staff:
Gerald Ako, Kauai field representative. A graduate of Aiea High School, he moved to Kauai in 1992. He has served the Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA) since 1983 in a number of capacities.
Marvin Buenconsejo, press secretary/field representative. A graduate of Punahou School and the University of Washington, he worked as an anchor and reporter for KHON TV2 and Hawaii News Now television prior to handing communications for Hirono’s U.S. House office.
Ann Ebesuno, Hawaii island field representative. A graduate of Hilo High School, she brings years of experience in local philanthropy and public service, notably as a board member of Hawaii Island United Way, a member of the Mayor’s Healthcare Task Force, and a steering committee member of the American Cancer Society Relay For Life.
Chanel Honda, Hawaii scheduler: A graduate of Punahou School and the University of Southern California, she served as a staff assistant in Hirono’s U.S. House office.
Lauren Ige, staff assistant. A graduate of Iolani School and the University of Southern California, she served as a staff assistant in Hirono’s U.S. House office.
Walt Kaneakua, assistant for military affairs. A graduate of Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, he has strong relationships with Hawaii’s military and veterans. He was a key Honolulu-based liaison to the armed services in Hawaii as an aide to Inouye.
Lauren Montez-Hernandez, military liaison/field representative. A graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and spouse of an Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) veteran, she served as military and veterans affairs liaison in Hirono’s U.S. House office and joins Sen. Hirono’s military and defense legislative team.
Yuki Lei Sugimura, Maui field representative. Born and raised on Maui and a graduate of Baldwin High School, she brings a wealth of experience in both public service and in the private sector. She is a small business owner who has staged many of Maui’s largest and most colorful events.
Ross Wilson, Hawaii island field representative: A graduate of Hilo High school, he now resides in Kona. He spent close to a decade in visitor industry management positions before becoming vice president of First Federal Savings & Loan. He is now president of the Kona-based Current Events, a public relations and community affairs firm.
Kehau Yap, constituent services manager/field representative. A graduate of Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Yap worked at both Kamehameha Schools and the Ke Ali`i Pauahi Foundation prior to managing casework for Hirono’s U.S. House office.
Hirono also announced longtime senior aide Susan Kodani will retire from federal service. Kodani served Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District as district director when Hirono was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and has since served as state administrator in Hirono’s Senate office.