Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Congresswoman-Elect Jill Tokuda announced today her selection of top senior staff for Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District. The district encompasses Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Kahoʻolawe, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kauaʻi, Niʻihau, and the rural parts of Oʻahu, including Waimanālo, Kailua, Kāneʻohe, the North Shore, and Waiʻanae coast.

Leading the Washington, D.C. congressional office as Chief of Staff will be Wendy Clerinx, who has over 20 years of experience on Capitol Hill and in Washington, D.C. 

Born and raised in Hilo, Wendy is a graduate of Waiākea High School. She holds degrees in economics and political science from Santa Clara University and is also a graduate of The George Washington University Law School.

Wendy is a seasoned Capitol Hill professional who has served as the legislative director for several Members of Congress and as Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs. She returned home to Hawaiʻi for two years to serve as the Director of Policy to former Hawaiʻi Governor Neil Abercrombie at the beginning of his term. She currently serves as General Counsel to U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono.  

“Wendy brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her position as my new Chief of Staff,” said Tokuda. “As I begin my first term in the 118th Congress, I’m confident she will put her leadership skills to work as we build a strong team that will best guide our office to serve the people of Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District.”

Tokuda also appointed Kendra Oishi, who has over two decades of public service experience in Hawai’i, as her District Chief. In this role, she will oversee and lead the District Office.

Kendra is a lifelong Hawai’i resident and a graduate of Kailua High School.  She holds a BA in history from the University of Hawai’i – West O’ahu and a Master of Public Administration from the University of San Francisco.  

Kendra’s public service career includes extensive policy and budget development experience with the Hawai’i State Legislature, including serving as Budget Chief for the Senate Ways and Means Committee during Tokuda’s tenure as chair of the committee. Kendra has also held leadership positions in the Hawai’i State Department of Education and currently serves as the Executive Administrator and Secretary of the Board of Regents at the University of Hawai’i. 

“Over the course of her career, Kendra has engaged in outreach activities statewide and has gained a breadth of knowledge of issues of importance to Hawai’i,” noted Tokuda. “She is the perfect person to lead our district office, and I’m excited to have her as part of our team.”

Maui resident Deidre Tegarden will serve as Tokuda’s official transition aide. In this role, she will serve as the primary point of contact responsible for assisting with the setup of the Washington, D.C. and district office. 

Deidre currently serves as the Executive Director of the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center on Maui. Prior to joining the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center, Tegarden was Chief of Protocol for Governor Neil Abercrombie and Governor David Ige. She also served as the point person for US-Japan Council’s State Prefecture meetings in 2012.

She previously served as Director for the Office of Economic Development, County of Maui and as the Executive Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters Maui. She was a recipient of the Pacific Business News’ “Forty Under 40” Award, Past President of the Rotary Club of Kahului and a graduate of the Weinberg Fellows Program. Deidre is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese and Chinese Studies.

“With extensive experience in the public and private sectors, Deidre will have a key role in helping to build our staff in both Hawaiʻi and Washington, D.C.,” said Tokuda. “As a resident of Maui Nui, it’s important for me to ensure that our office reflects the diversity of our district and I’m confident that Deidre will help us to achieve that.”

Tokuda is seeking individuals to serve in other key positions on her Congressional staff in Washington, D.C., and the District Office.

Interested persons can apply via the website:


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