Representative Bob McDermott gave the Invocation at the Hawaii State House of Representatives on March 11, 2014.
Representatives Della Au Belatti and Cynthia Thielen Congratulate Hawaii Commission
on the Status of Women with House Resolution 198 (H.R. No. 198)
Congratulation to the Hawaii State Commission on the status of women for its 50 years of commitment to creating equality for women and girls in the state of Hawaii.
Representative Thielen: (partial statement)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
A program as successful as the Commission on the Status of Women requires remarkable people to be able to run it effectively. Today we are lucky to have just a few of the stellar minds behind the Commission with us on the floor.
I would first like to honor Ms. Cathy Betts, the current Executive Director of the Commission. Cathy Betts was honored here at the State Legislature in 2012 for her excellent advocacy and education efforts for Title IX, and her involvement in women’s advocacy is applaud-worthy. She has worked in the fields of family law, violence against women, child abuse and Title IX. She also formerly served as the Patsy T. Mink Legislative Fellow in the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s Washington D.C. office. Cathy is a former Deputy Attorney General with the State of Hawai’i’s Family Law Division and currently serves on multiple boards, including the Board of Directors for the Hawaii Filipino Lawyers Association and the Board of Directors for Hawai’i Women Lawyers.
Our next honoree is Ms. Pam Ferguson Brey, the Executive Director of the Crime Victim Compensation Commission. Ms. Brey previously served as the Executive Director of the Commission on the Status of Women, and as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu prosecuting family abuse cases, Deputy Attorney General representing the Department of Human Services in Child Abuse and Neglect cases. She has received several awards for her dedication to women’s issues including the 1994 Hawaii Women Lawyer of the Year award and also received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Association of Commissions for Women for initiating the first month long Women’s Health Month.
Next, I would like to honor Ms. Leslie Wilkins, the current Chair of the Commission. Ms. Wilkins is an experienced advocate for women, workplace diversity and equity issues. She also currently serves as the Vice President of Maui Economic Development Board and is a member of the University of Hawaii’s College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council, a member of the board of the YWCA of Honolulu, and is a national trustee for the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation. Ms. Wilkins was the primary designer, launcher, and leader of the Women in Technology Project, designed to engage more girls, women, Native Hawaiians and other underrepresented groups into the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math pipeline. She has also won many awards commending her achievements, to mention a few: Ms. Wilkins won the 2001 SBA Women’s Business Advocate Award for Hawaii and Federal Region IX, the 2005 International Economic Development Council Performance Award, and a 2010 Maui County Woman of Achievement Award.
I would lastly like to honor Allicyn Tasaka, who is the Current Director of Operations for Governor Abercrombie. Ms. Tasaka has a long history with the Commission, having served as a Commissioner from 1993-1996, Chair from 1994-1995, and as the Executive Director from 1998-2004. During her tenure, the Commission received an “Outstanding Achievement Award” by the National Association of Commissions for Women, presented in recognition of the 1994 Women’s Health Month project held in Hawaii for the first time. The award identifies and recognizes exemplary innovative women’s commission programs and projects. Allicyn also co-chaired the Hawaii Family Economic Self-Sufficiency Standard Advisory Committee, which served as a strong benchmark on the status of women in Hawaii. After nearly a 20 year lag of national representation, Allicyn was selected to serve as national director, representing Hawaii, on the National Association of Commissions for Women from 2000 to 2002, and in 2001, she was awarded the Community Service Award by Hawaii Women Lawyers.
We also have several important women in the gallery today who have dedicated themselves to helping the women of our State. Please join me in welcoming the current and former commissioners we have with us today: Ms. Lisa Ellen Smith, Ms. Carmille Lim, Ms. Amy Monk, Ms. Marilyn Lee, Ms. Judy Kern, Ms. Elena Cabatu, Ms. Margaret Masunaga, Ms. Sally Little,Ms. Carol Philips, Ms. Marsha Joyner, and lastly Ms. Kat Brady, the current Honolulu County Committee Chair,
Members, it is clear that all of these women individually and collectively have strived and succeeded in improving the status of women nationally and in the State of Hawai’i. Their accomplishments and awards deserve our warmest regards and wishes. With that, I would like to congratulate the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women on their 50th anniversary and wish them continuous success and regards for the future. Thank you.