Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, February 22, 1999

Hall of Famer
heavyweight in
the state Senate

Before Ben Villaflor, 46, was the state Senate's sergeant-at-arms, he was the World Boxing Association's junior lightweight champion.

Now one of the newest inductees into the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame, Villaflor confesses he hasn't worn his championship belt in more than two decades. The reason: His waistline now measures 32 inches instead of the 271/2 inches it was when he was a boxer. And, Villaflor says with a grin, if he were still fighting, he would be classified as a light heavyweight since he's now 172 pounds, 42 more than his fighting weight.

Villaflor has never had to use his pugilistic skills as sergeant-at-arms -- but was tempted in 1979. When the Senate Judiciary Committee was hearing a bill to restore the death penalty, isle Communist Party members wanted to bring anti-death penalty signs into the hearing room. Villaflor said it was against Senate rules.

A female party member surprised Villaflor with a strong push to his chest. "I told her, "'You're lucky you're a woman,'" Villaflor recalled. "'If you were a man ...'"

CANDIDATE TO LOBBYIST: One of the newest lobbyists at the state Capitol is Pat McCain, who ran unsuccessfully against state Rep. Kenneth Hiraki of Ala Moana in the Democratic primary last year.

McCain, who has worked as an aide to U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris, now works for Unity House, which manages investments and oversees benefits for the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees, Local 5, and Teamsters Locals 681 and 996.

By Star-Bulletin staff

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