Growing up in Paia and Kahului has cultivated Senator Keith-Agaran's passion for Maui and Valley Isle residents. Gil brings a wealth of experience from the practice of law, and work in county and State government to the Capitol.
With fewer agricultural and blue collar jobs for Central Maui working families, Senator Keith-Agaran believes focused training and key infrastructure construction and expansion are key priorities to bringing well-paying jobs closer to home. Specifically, he envisions a growing health and science campus building on the proximity of Maui Memorial Medical Center, the Kaiser Foundation facilities, the Community Clinic of Maui, and UH-Maui College. He also believes that the State, county and private sectors should partner to reserve and create quality affordable workforce housing.
Senator Keith-Agaran is a graduate of Maui High School. He has a BA in history from Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut and he is a graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. Gil is a partner in the Maui law firm of Takitani & Agaran. He is married to Kallie Keith-Agaran.
Justice Simeon R. Acoba, Jr.
Retired Hawaiʻi Supreme Court Associate Justice Simeon R. Acoba, Jr. is currently a lecturer at the UH Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law.
Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court in May 2000, he was an associate judge on the Intermediate Court of Appeals from 1994–2000, a circuit court judge from 1980–1994 and a district court judge from 1979–1980.
Acoba started his career as a law clerk for Chief Justice William Richardson, before serving as special assistant to UH President Harlan Cleveland, a deputy attorney general and engaging in the private practice of law.
He is the founding chair of the Hawaiʻi Access to Justice (ATJ) Commission and is currently chair of the commission’s Judiciary’s Strategic Planning Committee. Acoba is also co-chair of the Judicial Administration Committee of the Hawaiʻi State Bar Association and director of the Hawaiʻi Justice Foundation and the Mediation Center of the Pacific.
A graduate of Farrington High School, Acoba received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawaiʻi and his juris doctor degree from the Northwestern University School of Law.
Dr. Amefil “Amy” Agbayani
Amefil “Amy” Agbayani was born in Manila during WW II. She was named "Amefil," for America and the Philippines. Most of her students and staff called her "Manang Amy.” Agbayani came to Hawai’i in 1964 as an East West Center scholar in political science. Agbayani received distinguished alumni awards from the University of the Philippines (BA), the University of Hawai’i (M.A. and Ph.d) and the East West Center. Her dissertation was on black college student civil rights protests in the 1960s in the south.
In 1972, Agbayani co-founded Operation Manong, a program for Manoa college students to tutor Filipino and other immigrant students. Over time, she broadened her efforts to serve Native Hawaiians, African Americans, Pacific Islanders and other underrepresented groups, women, the LGBT community, students with disabilities, senior citizens and pre-school children. She secured millions of dollars for scholarships and student service programs. Her office expanded to become one of the most comprehensive student diversity programs in the nation. In 2016, after more than four decades at UH Manoa, she retired as the first Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Diversity, and Director of Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity (SEED). In addition to her work for student groups, Agbayani conducted research on Filipinos in Hawai'i and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in higher education. She advocated for civil rights, worker’s rights, and those needing a voice on campus and off-campus. She was appointed by the Governor to be the first chair of the Hawai'i Civil Rights Commission, served as Chair of the Hawai'i Judicial Selection Commission, co-chair of Governor Abercrombie campaign and in 2008, was a Hawai’i elector for President Obama. She received awards from the Patsy T. Mink PAC, the Filipino Community Center, and was honored by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission as a "Living Treasure.”
Dr. Roderick Labrador
Dr. Roderick Labrador is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He is a 1.5-generation Filipino American—he was born in the Philippines and immigrated to the U.S. during elementary school, growing up in southeast San Diego.
Prior to joining the Department of Ethnic Studies, he worked for nearly a decade as the director of a university-based college access program in a low-income, urban Honolulu community. For the last several years, "Professor Rod" has also worked with various local businesses and promoters like The Got Rice? Show, Workhouse, In4mation, About The Goods, Lightsleepers, and PNOY Apparel to organize hip hop shows, events, workshops, and forums with local, national, and international hip hop artists, including “Inside the Ethnic Studies Studio” and “Pau Hana Sessions.”
He is the co-author of Filipinos in Hawai‘i (with Theodore Gonzalves, 2011), coeditor of Empire of Funk: Hip Hop and Representation in Filipina/o America (with Mark Villegas and DJ Kuttin’ Kandi, 2013), and author of Building Filipino Hawai‘i (2015). He is currently working on two book projects (with the University of Washington Press):“Where the Hustle and Struggle Coincide”: Place, Politics, and Rap in Filipina/o America and Town All Day: Scenes in Seattle Rap (with George Quibuyen aka Geo of Blue Scholars and The Bar).
Dr. Rachel Solemsaas
Dr. Rachel Solemsaas was appointed chancellor of Hawai‘i Community College in 2016. She previously served as the Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services at Truckee Meadows Community College in Nevada. Prior to that appointment, she was Vice President for Administrative Services at Bellevue College and Vice President for Finance and Operations at Edmonds Community College, both inWashington.
Dr. Solemsaas earned a doctorate of education in higher education with an emphasis on community college leadership from Washington State University and a master’s in public administration from the University of Washington. She earned a bachelor of science in accounting from De La Salle University in Manila.
Presently, Dr. Solemsaas is President of the National Asian Pacific Islander Council, an affiliate council of the American Association of Community Colleges.
Michelle A. Tagorda
Michelle A. Tagorda was born in Hilo, Hawaiʻi and is a graduate of Keaʻau High School. She earned her bachelor of science in psychology and bachelor of arts in biology from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, while engaging in various student leadership activities. Tagorda served on the Campus Center Board while working on phases of the Campus Center renovation and expansion project including the opening of the Warrior Recreation Center. She worked to ensure that all service areas, facilities and activities of the Campus Center Complex were providing students with the out of classroom experience to gather, collaborate and enjoy student life.
As a master of public health student, Tagorda worked to help develop and support the new bachelor of arts in public health degree in her capacity as the Office of Public Health Studies undergraduate academic advisor. She dedicated herself to the service of both undergraduate and graduate students through academic advising, inspiring many students to pursue rewarding careers in public health and beyond. She served as an officer on the board for the public health student organization, Hui Ola Pono, and remains active in the Hawaiʻi Public Health Association. Her research involved collaboration with the Center for Rural Health Studies at UH Hilo, and focused on measuring and understanding cultural characteristics related to health. She worked with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education, Mānoa Peer Advisor program as the program assistant and volunteered with the Hawaiʻi Primary Care Association and Hawaiʻi Department of Health to develop an educational toolkit for the film Ola which focused on bringing to light issues surrounding the social determinants of health. Tagorda was also part of the Health Behavior Change Research Workgroup’s Waipahu Health Action Research Training project, where she supported high school seniors in facilitating classroom activities on physical activity and healthy nutrition as preventative measures for obesity. Upon graduating with her masters of public health in social and behavioral health sciences, Tagorda was inducted into the Delta Omega Honorary Public Health Society, Gamma Chapter.
Tagorda currently works as a program coordinator with the Health Careers Opportunity Program in the Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity office at UH Mānoa. In her spare time, Tagorda enjoys playing basketball, running at Ala Moana Beach Park, reading and journal writing.
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