LOCAL KĀNEʻOHE GIRL
Lisa Kitagawa is a fourth generation Japanese American, whose great-grandparents came to Hawaiʻi to work on the plantations and create a better life for themselves and their families. In the 1960s, all of Lisa’s grandparents (paternal and maternal) moved to Kāneʻohe, where they and their families have continued to call the Windward community their home for almost 60 years.
Lisa and her sister, Mari, were raised by a single mother, who worked tirelessly to provide for their needs and education. Lisa’s mother was a DOE Windward District elementary school educator who retired after 30 years of service. Lisa learned the values of hard work, perseverance, and service to others through her grandparents’ and mother’s actions and words. The importance of family and education were also values Lisa learned from an early age.
PRODUCT OF OUR PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM
Lisa attended Benjamin Parker Elementary School, King Intermediate School and Castle High School. She completed both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where she graduated with distinction with a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Resources and a Minor in Speech, and a Masters degree in Higher Education Administration.
EXPERIENCED WORKING PROFESSIONAL
After graduating with her Master’s degree, she worked professionally at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa as both a faculty member in student affairs and as a student services specialist for the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). As a faculty member, she taught leadership development courses, mentored students and coordinated UH’s New Student Programs, orienting over 2,000 students and parents/family members each year. She was also responsible for CTAHR’s academic advising, scholarships, recruitment, and co-curricular activities. All of these experiences at the University have provided her with opportunities to develop and strengthen her leadership skills, work effectively with diverse groups, and achieve tangible solutions to problems.
Prior to serving as a State Representative, Lisa worked as the Office Manager to Representative Aaron Ling Johanson, who serves as the Chair of the Labor and Public Employment Committee.
OUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE
Elected to office in 2018, Lisa has had the opportunity to serve and represent the community that she grew up in. She has worked tirelessly to bring much-needed funding, programs, and services to the 96744 community. Lisa is committed to effective communication and believes it is important to be accessible, transparent, and honest. She believes in partnering and collaborating with her community to create positive change. Lisa currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Economic Development & Business, and as a member on the Committees on Finance and Labor & Public Employment.
INVOLVED IN OUR COMMUNITY
Lisa has always been involved in her community. For most of her youth, she danced hula for Kāneʻohe’s Keolalaulani Halau Hula ʻOlapa O Laka and volunteered countless hours for numerous service organizations at Castle High School and UH Mānoa. She currently attends Mountain View Community Church in Kāneʻohe, is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Kāneʻohe and the Koʻolaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club, and is a class representative of the Castle Alumni/Community Association. She is also the former President and Treasurer of Benjamin Parker Elementary School’s ʻOhana (PTA), where her children attend school. She has also volunteered as a team parent with the AYSO Kāneʻohe Region, with the Kāneʻohe Community Family Center, KEY Project in Kahaluʻu, and the Cherry Blossom Festival (Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce).
WIFE AND MOTHER
Lisa has been married to her husband, Justin Akagi, for eleven years and they have two children together. Maia-Joy is 8 years old and a soon-to-be third grader and Noah is 6 years old and a soon-to-be first grader.