Continuing with her series of interviews with freshmen House legislators, Rep. Marilyn Lee welcomes newly elected Rep. Mark Jun Hashem on the next episode of Kukui Connection. The show airs on Sunday, February 6, 4:00 p.m. on Olelo, Channel 54. It repeats on February 20th and 27th at the same time.
Rep. Hashem was born in Japan and raised from an early age in Hawaii. He grew up in lower Makiki and graduated from McKinley High School. He went to Pacific University in Oregon on a wrestling scholarship, and also attended Hokkaido University.
His mother is Japanese from Hokkaido, His father is Lebanese. He talks about his unique family heritage.
Rep. Hashem stayed in Japan for 10 years after university and started an English language school. He started with 13 students the first year, and by the time he left Japan, over 2000 students per week were registered.
He has always had an interest in politics, so after he came back to Hawaii, he went to work for Rep. Kyle Yamashita. When the District 18 seat became open, he decided to run.
Rep. Hashem's district starts at the Kahala Times super market and goes east through the valleys of Aina Haina, Niu, and Hahaione. He discusses some of the his major concerns for the district, as well as the legislation he is working on.
While he doesn't have much spare time now that we're in session, Rep. Hashem still coaches wrestling at McKinley. He has seen first hand how sports can help kids stay out of trouble and give them direction and discipline. It's his way of giving back to a sport that played a major role in shaping his life.