returns to politics

The former Council chairman
is Akaka's communications head

Former city councilman and television reporter Jon Yoshimura will be the new director of communications for U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.

Yoshimura will be joining another former KHON-TV reporter, Donalyn Dela Cruz, in Akaka's office. Dela Cruz, sister of City Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz, is Akaka's press secretary.

For the last two years, Yoshimura has been working for the Honolulu Board of Water Supply in the communications department.

Yoshimura, a lawyer, served on the Honolulu City Council from 1994 to 2002. He was chairman from 1999 to 2002.

The Hawaii Supreme Court suspended Yoshimura from practicing law for six months for lying to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel about whether he had been drinking before a 1999 hit-and-run traffic accident in which he hit a parked car.

Yoshimura initially denied that he had been drinking, then issued a public apology in 2001, saying he had been too embarrassed to admit he had one drink that night.

In an unrelated incident, Yoshimura was also ordered to pay a $3,532 fine to the state Campaign Spending Commission for misuse of campaign money.

In 2002, Yoshimura, 45, considered running for lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket. He switched to a state Senate campaign after he said he couldn't raise the funds for a statewide race. Yoshimura won the Democratic primary, but lost in the general election to Republican Gordon Trimble.

Yoshimura met Akaka at Georgetown University in 1977.

"I will be working with Donalyn Dela Cruz to help get the senator's message out," said Yoshimura, who's expected in Washington in April.

Dela Cruz said it was not unusual for U.S. senators to have a two-person communications team, although Akaka, who has been in the senate for 15 years, has had only one person dealing with the news media.

"Sen. Akaka sits on a lot of committees that the public is not aware of, from Department of Defense to Veteran Affairs. He has been in press conferences many times just this week. A lot of this information is not going back to Hawaii," Dela Cruz said.

Yoshimura said he will be working strictly with Akaka's office and not working on Akaka's 2006 re-election campaign.

"I was told specifically that I will have nothing to do with campaign activity," Yoshimura said.

Sen. Daniel Akaka

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