Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, May 14, 2001

Yoshimura aide Ovitt
gains a top party post

Starting June 1, Democrats in Hawaii will have a new executive director.

Christopher Ovitt, who now works for City Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura, will handle day-to-day operations of the party, according to Lorraine Akiba, party chairwoman.

The pair got an early start on campaign recruiting with a tour through Chinatown last Wednesday.

They handed out Democratic Party posters and asked for "Asian-Pacific Americans' support for Democratic values and efforts."

"Hawaii's strength has always been in its cultural and environmental diversity," Akiba said. "Chinatown is an important and significant symbol and solid foundation for recognizing a continuing relationship with our roots."

Ovitt is a University of Hawaii graduate. Also working in the Democratic Party office will be Bixby Ho, as an assistant receptionist.

ABERCROMBIE ASCENDS: Hawaii's U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie is climbing the ranks of Capitol Hill.

He has been chosen the ranking Democrat on a military construction subcommittee, which decides on real estate acquisition and disposal, base closure and housing.

"This new position gives Hawaii a stronger voice on decisions that have a tremendous impact on our economy and military forces stationed in our state," Abercrombie said. "It means jobs, contracts and paychecks for island families and the businesses that employ them. For military personnel and their families, it means better working and living conditions, improved morale and heightened readiness."

Abercrombie's selection came as part of a midterm shuffling of Democratic leadership positions on the House Armed Services Committee after the death of Rep. Norman Sisisky (D, Va.).

In the shuffle, Abercrombie yielded his post as ranking member on the Military Research and Development Subcommittee but still serves on its panel.

A WAY TO WIN: The city Neighborhood Commission has decided that Michael J. Peters will sit on the Waikiki Neighborhood Board by default.

Peters and Robert W. Last both received 216 votes in board elections announced last week. That left the two men tied for fifth place in a subdistrict that has five seats.

Commission officials had planned to hold a drawing of straws this week to break the tie. But it has since been determined that Last, a holdover from last term, has moved to the mainland. Ben Kama, the commission's executive director, said given that news, the commission decided to place Peters on the board.

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