I joined the American Cancer Society in 2011 as the Hawaii Pacific Government Relations Director. In this role I am responsible for advancing cancer related public policy issues and advancing advocacy volunteer engagement. To me this role is unique; I have the ability to work on public policy issues, engage with volunteers and other cancer groups, and assist with ACS events. There is never a dull moment, as one day I will be preparing and gathering one hundred petitions and then next day appearing in front of a legislative committee to testify on ACS CAN’s position on a measure. I enjoy working with volunteers and survivors, they remind me every day that the work the Society does makes a difference.
Prior to joining the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), I held different positions in the Hawaii Legislature as a legislative aide as well as research and staff attorney for the House of Representatives. I actually started my career as a civil rights advocate and attorney, helping people with disabilities fight for public access, accommodations, and proper care. I also spent some time doing regulatory work on the federal level for Hawaiian Telcom. But the most engaging work I’ve done before coming to ACS CAN was at the Legislature. What people don’t realize is that every bill that is introduced affects somebody. No matter how silly a bill may seem to others, to that one person or group of people whose life it tries to make better – it is important.
I lost two grandparents to cancer. It was difficult to see the loss of one as child and the other as an adult. While losing someone is difficult, however, it also makes you realize how important your work can be. There are many issues that Congress, the Hawaii Legislature, and even the county councils tackle every year besides cancer, so it is important to keep that conversation going. Advocacy is only a piece of the American Cancer Society’s mission, but it is an important piece.
In my free time I am usually at the soccer field with my wife and two kids, who are all involved with the sport. I am a volunteer referee and coach, but enjoy being a spectator most of the time.
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About American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network:
” Today, over 70% of all Americans live in a smoke-free community. – But millions are still forced to work in smoke-filled workplaces.Today, advances in cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, and care mean that we are winning the war on cancer. – But Congress has frozen or cut funding for cancer research and programs for the past five years.Today, women have better access to mammograms. – But millions of women, men and children are uninsured and millions more are underinsured, with little or no access to life-saving screenings and treatments.Read more about how we help.