Wisconsin lawyer to head elections office
Kevin Cronin has held several government roles but has limited experience in elections
A government attorney in Wisconsin with little election experience has been selected to run Hawaii's elections.
The state Elections Commission announced yesterday that Kevin Cronin, assistant general counsel to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, has been named the Hawaii chief election officer and will start work in February.
Cronin was not available for comment. He was selected after the commission narrowed the list of applicants down to Cronin; Rex Quidilla, interim election chief; and Scott Nago, a state elections office section head.
The state's chief election officer is responsible for all federal, state, Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Board of Education elections and coordinates the county elections with the four county clerks.
Zale Okazaki, a state elections commissioner, was in charge of the selection committee. She said Crone's lack of experience in running elections was not as important as his experience in government.
"We liked him because he seemed very focused and still was a team player," Okazaki said. "We thought that with his background in working for government, he could get up to speed quickly."
Cronin, according to Okazaki, lives in Hawaii part time. His wife has taken a job in Hawaii, and his son is a coach at a Hawaii high school, according to Okazaki.
Cronin is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and received a law degree from the University of Wisconsin. His election experience includes serving as the legal counsel for the Wisconsin state elections board from 1983 to 1988.
Cronin has served as an attorney for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue and as administrator for the natural-gas division of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.
He has also served as a consultant to the energy departments in the Philippines, Bangladesh and Uttar Pradesh province in India.
He is licensed to practice law in both Wisconsin and Hawaii.
William Marston, Elections Commission chairman, said the vote for Cronin was unanimous.
"Everyone had a strong feeling for him, and he does have extensive experience in government," Marston said.
The Cronin Resume
Who: Kevin Cronin
Position: Named Hawaii's chief election officer
Experience: Assistant general counsel to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission; legal counsel for the Wisconsin state elections board; attorney for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue