Newsmaker
Monday, August 26, 1996

Name: Scott Yoshimi Nishimoto
Age: 22
Position: University of Hawaii student body president
Education: Mid-Pacific Institute
Pastimes: sports, music, volunteering

Edging into government

Scott Nishimoto never considered politics until a year ago, when a story calling for student leaders in the University of Hawaii newspaper prompted him to run for senator on the UH Student Council.

This school year, the 22-year-old serves as student body president for the nearly 15,000 undergraduates at the Manoa campus.

"I guess it happened by chance," explained Nishimoto, a senior majoring in sociology. "I never was involved with government in high school, elementary school. I never held that kind of position before."

But after high school, he wasn't involved in sports and felt something was missing.

The aspiring attorney spent six weeks this summer serving as a congressional intern for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, a stint he says was a rewarding and eye-opening experience.

Although it was the first time the Mililani resident spent an extended time away from Hawaii, he was never far from home ties. One of his duties as Inouye's intern was conducting tours of the U.S. Capitol for visiting Hawaii folks.

"That was a real enjoyable part of it, seeing people from Hawaii," said Nishimoto, who also wrote letters to constituents and did research for Inouye's legislative assistants.

Even so, Nishimoto cut short his internship to prepare for the upcoming school year. Where last year's theme was to protest budget cuts and tuition increases, this year's focus for students is to cope with those realities, he said.

Nishimoto expects students to be just as active this year, and he hopes to get more people involved in government, a problem that persists largely due to Manoa's "commuter campus" atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Nishimoto feels at home in Manoa. He attended Manoa Elementary and St. Louis School before graduating from Mid-Pacific Institute. His mother, Patricia, works on the Manoa campus and his father, Melvin, works in the state Attorney General's Office.

As a youth, Nishimoto spent much of his free time hanging out at the UH athletic complex.

"I've lived in Mililani all my life, but I really grew up in Manoa," he said.



Pat Omandam, Star-Bulletin




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