Monday, November 24, 1997

Name: Leolani Abdul
Age: 48
Position: Chairwoman, State Ethics Commission.
Education: BA from UH West Oahu; MBA from UH.
Pastimes: Hunting, fishing, camping

Shaping Hawaii's ethics

Whether it's roaming through the woods with her Browning .308 rifle by her side or discussing issues that will shape Hawaii's ethical standards - Leolani Abdul loves a challenge.

Abdul, an avid outdoorswoman, recently was elected chair of the State Ethics Commission.

"I get satisfaction when I get to contribute to the ethical standards in the community," she said. "My family has lived here for generations. It's not a way to take, but to give back, be involved and make a difference."

She has served on the board since 1994. She last served as chair in 1996.

Before the ethics committee, she served on the County Aquatic, Wild Life and Advisory Committee as well as the Animal Species Commission.

"I like animals. Some animals I like to eat," she said. "Hunting is a measure of challenging yourself. It's important to some of them to achieve to bring home some game. I just enjoy being out there."

With all the ethical cases Abdul has seen, she still has strong confidence about public servants.

"Most are good people and have good intentions," she said. "A lot of times, they just don't know."

Dan Mollway, the executive director for the commission, said the commissioner's volunteer job of making sure state employees, boardmembers and legislators stay within the guidelines is "no picnic."

"They really put in a lot of time," he said. "It's not simple. It's serious business and they deserve a lot of credit."

Abdul agrees her job is very challenging, but very rewarding as well.

"It makes for a better life if we have ethical officials," she said. "It's important to have confidence in our state government, knowing the ethics will be enforced."

Jaymes Song, Star-Bulletin

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