Gov. Neil Abercrombie has announced the nominations of Brandon Ahakuelo, Kent Hiranaga and Arnold Wong to the Land Use Commission (LUC), effective immediately.
All are interim appointments subject to state Senate approval.
Ahakuelo and Wong were appointed to at-large seats and Hiranaga to the seat representing Maui County.
With their appointments, there are now seven members on the nine-seat commission, which restores the LUC’s ability to meet quorum and exercise decision-making powers that were lost following five resignations in July.
“The Land Use Commission can resume business thanks to Brandon, Kent and Arnold’s commitment to public service,” Abercrombie said. “Each brings a unique background of experience that will inform land use decisions in the interest of the people of Hawaii.”
Brandon Ahakuelo of Honolulu currently serves as director of organizing and training for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1260.
Previously, he was a substation technician for Potomac Electric Power Company in Washington, D.C. from 2007 to 2012 and a meter reader for Nevada Power Company (NV Energy) in Las Vegas from 2004 to 2007.
A graduate of Damien Memorial School, Ahakuelo is a Hawaii Air National Guard veteran who served in Operations Enduring Freedom, Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom.
Kent Hiranaga, a resident of Paia, was born and raised on Maui. He has served as a member of a board or commission for more than 15 years, including on the Maui Planning Commission from 2007 to 2013, the Maui Board of Water Supply from 2001 to 2006, and the Maui Board of Variances and Appeals from 1996 to 2001. Hiranaga has been president of Maui Kai Realty since 2001.
He was previously employed by A&B Properties, Inc., Valley Isle Drapery, Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, and General Electric. Hiranaga attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa and graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington.
He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Maui Country Club.
Arnold Wong, a resident of Aiea, is currently government affairs director for the Ironworkers Union Stabilization Fund, Local 625.
He was previously government grants manager for The Nature Conservancy. Wong has extensive volunteer experience, serving as a Honolulu Fire Commissioner, trustee for the Ironworkers Union Trust Fund, campaign committee member for Malama Learning Center, coordinating committee member for the U.S. Department of Justice Weed and Seed Program, member of the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness, and board member for the St. Francis Foundation as well as Poi Dogs and Popoki. He is a graduate of University of Hawaii at Manoa and Hawaii Pacific University.
The State Land Use Law was adopted in 1961, establishing a framework of land use management and regulation in which all state lands are classified into urban, rural, agricultural or conservation districts.
The Legislature established the Land Use Commission to administer this statewide zoning law. The commission is responsible for preserving and protecting Hawaii’s lands and encouraging those uses to which the lands are best suited.
The Office of the Governor oversees more than 180 boards and commissions established by the state constitution, statues or executive orders.