COUNCIL MEMBERS AND DISTRICTS
The Hawai‘i County Council is comprised of nine members, each elected from one of Hawai‘i County’s nine council districts and serving two-year terms. The Council’s powers and functions are governed by Article 3, Section 3-1, Hawai‘i County Charter, which states that the legislative powers of the county shall be vested in the County Council. Its primary function shall be legislation and public policy formulation. The Council is responsible for passing the laws that govern this county, as enacted by ordinance, and written in the Hawai‘i County Code.
Portion of South Hilo, North Hilo, Hāmākua, and Portion of Waimea
Pu‘u‘eo, Wainaku, Kaiwiki, Pauka‘a, Papa‘ikou, Onomea, Pepe‘ekeo, Honomū, Wailea, Hakalau, Ninole, Papa‘aloa, Laupāhoehoe, Waipunalei, O‘okala, Pa‘auilo, Pa‘auhau, Honoka‘a, Kukuihaele, Waipio, Āhualoa, Portion of Kamuela, Pleasant Acres, Nani Waimea, Kamuela Highlands, Kamuela Lakeland, Kamuela Meadows, Kamuela Havens
Phone: (808) 961-8018
Fax: (808) 961-8912
Ms. Valerie Poindexter serves on the Hawai‘i County Council as Chair of the Finance Committee, Vice Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, Water and Energy Sustainability, and Vice Chair of the Human Services and Social Services Committee.
Valerie was born and raised in the district of Hāmākua in Pa‘auilo. She is married to Ira “Sonny” Poindexter III, and they have four beautiful children - Aysha, Rochelle, Mikela, and the late Keoki Ahuna.
- Graduated from Honoka‘a High School
- Paralegal Certificate, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo
- Diploma, Health Care Administration, University of Hawai‘i, West Oah‘u Campus
- Currently working towards a B.A. in Public Administration
- Human Resources Manager, Hāmākua Health Center, Inc.
- Director of Finance and Grant Writer, Lokahi Treatment Centers
- Legal Assistant, Christopher J. Roehrig, Attorney at Law
- Administrative Assistant, Office for Social Ministry
- President, O‘okala Community Association
- Board Member, Brantley Center, Inc.
- Board Member, Hawai‘i Island Sports Officials Association (HISOA)
- Advisory Board Member - Hawai‘i Community College Substance Abuse Counseling Program
- Advisory Board Member - University of Hawai‘i NHERC Heritage Center
- Member of the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church Choir
Portion of South Hilo
Downtown Hilo, Bayfront, Wailoa, Portion of Waiākea Houselots, University Heights, Komohana Gardens, Portion of Waiākea-Uka, Lanakila, Mohouli, Ainako, Kaūmana, Pi‘ihonua, Wailuku, Waiānuenue
Phone: (808) 961-8272
Fax: (808) 961-8912
Mr. J Yoshimoto was elected to the Hawai‘i County Council in 2006 and currently serves as Chair and Presiding Officer of the Hawai‘i County Council. He is a licensed attorney and has been practicing law since 1992. J is married to Tracie Nakano-Yoshimoto and has three children.
- E. B. De Silva Elementary School
- Hilo Intermediate School and Hilo High School
- Political Science degree with Distinction, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 1988
- Law degree, William S. Richardson School of Law, 1992
- Hawai‘i State Legislature, Office of Representative Wayne Metcalf
- Associate Attorney with the law firm of Amano, Pinao and Kobayashi
- Deputy Attorney General for the State of Hawai‘i
- Legal Specialist for the Legislative Research Branch, Hawai‘i County Council
Organizatons and Other Interests
- Hawai‘i State Bar Association
- Hawai‘i County Bar Association
- Arbitrator for Lemon Law Complaints filed with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
- Arbitrator for the Court Annexed Arbitration Program for cases filed with the Third Circuit Court
- Previously served as: President of the Young Lawyers Division of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association; Mediator for the Kuikahi Medication Center, Member of the American Bar Association, Coach and Judge for the High School Mock Trial Program; and Chair of the Hawai‘i County Democratic Party
Portion of South Hilo and Portion of Kea‘au
Banyan Drive, Keaukaha, Hilo Industrial Area, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Puainako Houselots, Kawailani Houselots, Haihai Subdivision, Portion of Waiākea Homesteads, Waiākea-Uka, Pana‘ewa, Macadamia Nut Farms, 8-1/2 mile Camp, Kūlani, Kea‘au Shopping Area, Kea‘au High School
Phone: (808) 961-8396
Fax: (808) 961-8912
Mr. Dennis “Fresh” Onishi was born and raised in Hilo. He currently serves on the Hawai‘i County Council as Chair of the Committee on Governmental Relations and Economic Development, Vice Chair of the Public Works and Parks and Recreation Committee, and Representative to the Executive Committee of the Hawai‘i State Association of Counties.
During his 20-plus years of employment with the County of Hawai‘i and his direct involvement with youth and elderly, they have become and continue to be his primary focus. As such, he would like to see more services, programs, and safer facilities for our senior citizens and youth. Having grown up in District 3, he appreciates the diverse communities of residential, commercial and industrial, mingling with the recreational, educational, and spiritual, which comprises the district.
He states, “Being your full-time Councilman, my door will be always open to you.”
- Kapiolani Elementary School
- Waiākea Intermediate School
- Hilo High School (1979)
- Hawai‘i Community College
- University of Hawai‘i at Hilo
- 1987-1991 Recreation Division and Elderly Activities Division, Parks and Recreation Department (Hakalau Gym, Pāhoa Community Center, Imin Center in Hōlualoa, Papa‘aloa Senior Learning Center and Lanakila Recreation Center), County of Hawai‘i
- 1991-2005 Hawai‘i Police Activities League (HI-PAL), Hawai‘i Police Department, County of Hawai‘i
- 2005-2008 Elderly Activities Division, Recreation Services (South/North Hilo District), Parks and Recreation Department, County of Hawai‘i
- 2008-present Council Member, Hawai‘i County Council
Hobbies and Interests
- Coaching youth basektball and seeing them enjoy and succeed in life
- Traveling to different parts of the world and experiencing its cultures
- Enjoys different ethnic foods
Now Open: Puna Council Office (Map)
Portion of Puna (Eastern)
Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaiian Beaches, Makai of Pāhoa Town, Nanawale Estates, Leilani Estates, Pohoiki, Kapoho
Phone: (808) 965-2712
Fax: (808) 965-2707
- Waiākea High School
- Hawai‘i Community College
- Air National Guard (6 years)
- Chair of the Hawai‘i County Housing Agency
- Vice Chair of the Finance Committee
- Vice Chair of the Governmental Relations and Economic Development Committee
- Alternate Representative to the Executive Committee of the Hawai‘i State Asssociation of Counties
Portion of Puna (Western)
W.H. Shipman Industrial Park, 9-1/2 mile Camp, Kea‘au Ag Lots, Kurtistown, Mt. View, Glenwood, Orchidland Estates, Ainaloa, Hawaiian Acres, Fern Acres, Eden Roc, Fern Forest Estates, Mauka of Pāhoa Town, Kaohe Homesteads, Kamali‘i Homesteads, Kalapana, Opihikau, Kehena, Kaimu
Phone: (808) 961-8263
Fax: (808) 961-8912
Mr. Zendo Kern serves on the Hawai‘i County Council as Chair of the Environmental Management Committee and Chair of the Planning Committee.
Born in North Kohala, Zendo’s family moved to Puna when he was two years old. He grew up in Wa‘aWa‘a with no HELCO power, no county water, and no phone service. Zendo was living “green” before he knew what “green” was. He spent his childhood fishing, diving, and surfing with his local friends.
- Montessori Country School
- Mālamalama Waldorf School
- Kea‘au Elementary School
- Pāhoa Elementary, Intermediate, and High School
- Proprietor, General Construction, specializing in “Green” construction
- Proprietor, Small Machinery Business
Certification and Achievement
- General Contractor’s License
- Awarded 2007 County of Hawai‘i Small Business Administration (SBA) Young Entrepreneur Award
- Commissioner, Windward Planning Commission, County of Hawai‘i (2009)
- Chair, Windward Planning Commission, County of Hawai‘i (2011-2012)
- Member, Downtown Hilo Improvement Association (DHIA) helping to create Envision 2025, a living action plan for Downtown Hilo (2003-2005)
All of Zendo’s experiences in business and community service has made one thing clear to him:
Zendo is most excited, inspired and fulfilled when he is able to help the people of Puna. He looks forward to continuing to represent Puna and Hawai‘i Island to the best of his abilities.
Portion of North Kona, South Kona, Kā‘u, and the Greater Volcano Area
Volcano Village, Hawaiian Orchid Island Estates, Pahala, Punalu‘u, Nā‘ālehu, South Point, Ocean View, Miloli‘i, Ho‘okena, Hōnaunau, Ke‘ei, Nāpō‘opo‘o, Captain Cook, Portion of Kealakekua, Keōpuka Heights, Kona Hospital, Keōpuka Kai
Fax: (808) 329-4786
Ms. Brenda Ford serves on the Hawai‘i County Council as Chair of the Public Safety and Mass Transit Committee. Brenda and her husband, Larry, have lived in Kona since 1996. They have three children and five grandchildren.
Brenda currently is a member of or is involved with the following organizations:
- American Red Cross - Volunteer
- Past and current member of the Disaster Action Team (DAT)
- Shelter Management
- Two-year term as Chairperson of Disaster Committee
- Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
- CERT Volunteer
- Former Director of the Board and Former Corporate Secretary and Treasurer
- Plan to Protect (working to balance between sustainable economic development, environmental protection, and appropriate use practices)
- Former Director of the Board
- Former Corporate Secretary
- Kona Orchid Society
- Former Director on the Board
- Former Corporate Secretary
- Bachelor of Arts in Management
- Council Member, District 6, 2012-Present
- Council Member, District 7 (Central Kona), 2006-2012
- Two years in the Hotel-Resort Industry (Hospitality) in Group Sales
- One year in Chemical Manufacturing
- 22 years in Telecommunications
Portion of South Kona and Portion of North Kona
Portion of Kealakekua, Kona Scenic Subdivision, Kainaliu, Honalo, Keauhou, Kahalu‘u, Hōlualoa, Kona Hillcrest, Pualani Estates, Sunset View, Kuakini Heights, Kona Vistas, Ali‘i Heights, Kona Industrial, Lono Kona
Dru Mamo Kanuha
Phone: (808) 323-4267
Fax: (808) 329-4786
Mr. Dru Mamo Kanuha serves on the Hawai‘i County Council as Chair of the Public Works and Parks and Recreation Committee and Vice Chair of the Environmental Management Committee.
Dru Kanuha was born in Kealekekua and raised near the shore, in the ahupua‘a of Hōlualoa. The Kanuha family has lived for generations in the Keōpū ahupua‘a that extends from Kailua Bay through the area now known as Emma’s Square and mauka, and is known for their stewardship of Kona lands.
- Mokuaikaua Church Preschool
- Kahakai Elementary School
- Kealakehe Intermediate and High School
- University of San Diego - Political Science, B.A., with a Minor in Business Administration
Public Service Experience
- Volunteer Instructor, children’s tennis at the Old Kona Airport
- Volunteer, Kealakehe High School Waveriders Against Drugs
- Kona Representative, Hawai‘i Island Burial Council (2010-2011)
- Member, Board of Directors, Kai ‘O Pua Canoe Club
- Founding Member, The Betty Kanuha Fundation, Inc. (formed in 2001 as a tribute to Dru’s Grandmother), a non-profit organization supporting literacy and cultural programs
- Vice Chair, 2011 Hawai‘i County Redistricting Commission
- Water and Agricultural Resources, Kamehameha Schools-Land Assets Division, Hawai‘i Island (supporting Kamehameha Schools’ Strategic Agricultural Plan)
- Legislative Aide, Judiciary and Labor Committee (Senator Clayton Hee, Chair), Hawai‘i State Legislature
Kailua View Estates, Malulani Gardens, Hualālai Farms, Keōpū Mauka, Kailua Heights, Kealakehe, Honokōhau, Kaloko, Kohanaiki, Kalaoa, Keāhole, Mākālei, Makalawena, Pu‘uanahulu, Waikōloa Beach Resort)
Phone: (808) 323-4280
Fax: (808) 329-4786
Ms. Karen Eoff serves on the Hawai‘i County Council as Vice Chair of the Hawai‘i County Council and Chair of the Committee on Human Services and Social Services.
Karen has been married to her husband, Gary Eoff, since 1975. Together they moved to Hawai‘i in 1981 to join her sister who also resides on the island. They have lived in Kona for over 30 years.
- 1966-1967 University of California at Los Angeles
- 1967-1968 University of California at Berkeley
- 1968-1970 University of California at Santa Barbara, B.A. Degree in Sociology
- 1996-1997 College of Continuing Education, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo
Paralegal Certificate - Graduated 2nd in Class
- 2010-2012 Deputy Executive Assistant to the Chair of the Hawai‘i County Council
- 2010-2012 Secretary to the 2011 Hawai‘i County Redistricting Commission
- 2010-2012 Legislative Assistant to Vice Chair K. Angel Pilago, Hawai‘i County Council
- 2008-2010 Aide to the Chair of the Hawai‘i County Council
- 2008-2010 Deputy Executive Assistant to the Chair of the Hawai‘i County Council
- 1980-1990 Substitute Teacher, Department of Education, State of Hawai‘i (Kona)
- 1980-Present “Marlin Magic” Fishing Lure Manufacturing Business
- 1999 Recipient of Soroptimist International’s “Woman of Distinction Award” in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Kona community
- 2008 “Employee of the Quarter,” Office of the County Clerk
- 2008 Nominated for “Employee Of the Year,” County of Hawai‘i
- 1990-Present Member Kohanaiki Ohana
Worked on two landmark Hawai‘i Supreme Court decisions which resulted in ACT 50 relating to Cultural Impact Statements. These legal victories led to new laws in the State of Hawai‘i that provide strong tools to ensure environmental justice, human rights, and public use of resources.
- 1995-2002 Organized Anchialine Pond Restoration Project at *Kohanaiki-WHEA students
- 1990-2008 Organized Annual Māmalahoa Trail restoration at *Kohanaiki-Kealakehe 8th graders
- 1994-2012 Organized Annual Keiki Surf for the Earth Contest at *Kohanaiki
*Efforts at Kohanaiki have led to a “Good Faith Agreement” with the landowners and the creation of a public shoreline park that will be dedicated to the County of Hawai‘i in 2013. This is a model for working together with the developer, the County, and the public to promote the well being of our community.
North and South Kohala
Mauna Lani Resort, Waikōloa Village, Puakō, Waiki‘i, Portion of Kamuela, Pu‘ukapu Farms, Pu‘ukapu Homesteads, Pu‘ukapu Village House Lots, Lualia, Pu‘u‘ōpelu, Lalamilo, Wai‘aka, Kawaihae, Kohala Ranch, Mahukona, Hawi, Kapa‘au, Hala‘ula
Phone: (808) 887-2069
Fax: (808) 887-2072
Ms. Margaret Wille serves on the Hawai‘i County Council as Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, Water and Energy Sustainability, Vice Chair of the Planning Committee, and Vice Chair of the Public Safety and Mass Transit Committee.
- Juris Doctorate: 1979 (Antioch School of Law, Washington, D.C)
- Masters in Education - Counseling: 1972 (Antioch School of Education, Keene, New Hampshire)
- Bachelor of Art: Anthropology - Social Sciences, 1969 (Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont)
- Verde Valley School: 1965 (Sedona, Arizona - private high school)
- Pono - balance and rightness
- Aloha ‘āina - love of the land
Some of Margaret’s accomplishments as a community member:
- Margaret successfully helped convince Governor Abercrombie to reverse his opposition to the Hospital Sustainability legislation that now will bring in over 3 million dollars to our North Hawai‘i Community Hospital.
- Margaret drafted the final base redistricting voting map for the County Council voting districts so that the plan would not be lop-sided in favor of a Hilo voting block. (Her redistricting map kept North Kohala, Waikōloa, Puakō, and Waiki‘i in District 9.)
- As a concerned member of the public, Margaret drafted the Hawai‘i County Charter amendment that set a standard for preservation of natural and cultural resources on our island. Voters approved this charter amendment (Charter Section § 13-29).
- Margaret plans to continue her work to overcome the political obstacles to the Lalamilo Connector Road, which would extend from Māmalahoa Highway where it will link the Parker Ranch Connector to the Kawaihae Road near the transfer station.
- Margaret was an active member of the South Kohala Community Development Plan Steering Committee and assisted in the drafting of the ordinance authorizing the formation of the community development plan action committees.
- To assist Mayor Kenoi fend of a decrease in County revenues, Margaret organized a petition drive to State legislative hearings to insure that the County of Hawai‘i receive its allocation of these funds.
- Margaret successfully fought for the Parker Ranch connector road (promised in 1992). This important connector road is now in place.