I was saddened to hear of the passing of Senator Cal Kawamoto. (He passed away on Sunday, September 22, 2013 at the age of 73). He served in the Hawaii State Senate, representing Waipahu and Pearl City from 1994-2004. Senator Kawamoto was a very strong man, a veteran fighter pilot, but once you got to know him, he had a fun side and was extremely loyal to his friends.
I first met Senator Cal Kawamoto in 1997 when I was 22 years old as a member of the Pearl City Neighborhood Board where he would give his legislative updates at the meetings.
In 2002, after I won my House race for the Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia, and Waipahu district, I got to know Senator Cal Kawamoto really well. I would put all the money I could for my district in the budget bill as it started in the House first. When the bill crossed over, Senator Kawamoto shoved even more money. Within two years, I achieved all of my priority funding goals for my district with the help of Senator Kawamoto, just in time for the 2004 election.
I remember a meeting I had with the Senator in his capitol office going over some of the bills I drafted that were before the Senate. He walked me out of the office and told his staff, “Pass the kid’s bill out.” I knew he didn’t really care for one of the bills he pushed out of his committee for me, but he did it anyway. That was the kind of man he was. Like many people, I got to see the Senator’s serious side, but my favorite moments with him were when he was smiling and laughing.