Former Lariat editor Kymberly Marcos Pine, 39, is now a state legislator in the state of Hawaii.
“Kym was a bundle of positive energy,” said Carol Ziehm, Saddleback journalism instructor.
“I remember her as a real ‘people person,’ who also served on Saddleback’s ASG, so learning of her success in Hawaii as an elected official is not a huge stretch.”
Pine, a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, is a member of the Republican Party and represents the 43rd District, which includes Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point and Pu’uloa.
In support of Pine and her achievements as a Filipino American, the Filipina Women’s Network, a national nonprofit association, selected her as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the United States.
Pine defeated incumbent Romy Mindo, with 60 percent of the vote.
Elected to the state House of Representatives in 2004, Pine is the first Republican to be elected to her position since Hawaii gained statehood. Since Pine’s election to office three years ago, Ewa Beach received $265 million for the construction of new roads, the renovation of area schools and a variety of other projects.
“My staff jokes that I can retire now because all the projects I was fighting for finally got funded during my first three years,” Pine said.
“My district where I represent, Ewa Beach, had typically been neglected by government,” Pine said. “We had one of the worst infrastructures in the state, and our schools were not given our equal share of funding.”
“Ewa Beach is a former plantation town mostly made up of Filipino immigrants. I am half Filipino and half Caucasian. As a descendant of Filipino plantation workers, I wanted to especially take care of this community that never asked for much, but deserved much more than they were given,” Pine said.
Pine is a member of the Hawaii State House of Representatives and serves as the Minority Floor Leader, the position that is in charge of controlling debate on the House floor.
Pine was a journalist before deciding to pursue a career in politics.
“I was first recruited by a local politician to be his press secretary,” Pine said. “I always intended on being a journalist, but instead stayed in politics.”
Pine was always interested in joining Congress in Hawaii.
“I saw many injustices going on at the Capitol and wanted to bring positive change to Hawaii,” Pine said.
“In two terms we were able to redirect this injustice in funding. Our high school was theonly high school in the state of Hawaii to achieve and surpass No Child Left Behind requirements,” Pine said.
The Lariat taught her how to listen and accept the fact that there are many sides to a story, plus that everyone’s opinion matters.
“She wrote wonderful feature stories, including one about adoption that was so well-done that it caused me to re-examine my feelings toward abortion,” Ziehm said.
“Working at the Lariat newspaper, which at the time was voted the ‘top 10′ newspaper in the country, was a turning point in my career,” Pine said. “I learned how to more effectively communicate with the masses, which has enabled me to succeed in my career now.”