Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Reps. Sylvia Luke and Della Au Belatti Honored by Hawaii Women Lawyers

Luke receives Distinguished Service Award; Belatti named Outstanding Women Lawyer

The Hawaii Women Lawyers recently gave two state representatives their highest awards. Representative Sylvia Luke was named the recipient of the Hawaii Women Lawyers’ Distinguished Service Award and Representative Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa) was named Outstanding Woman Lawyer. In addition to their public service, both are practicing attorneys.

In her seven terms in the State House, Representative Luke has been Vice-Speaker, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and in 2013, she became the first female Chair of the House Finance Committee.

In awarding Representative Luke with its Distinguished Service Award, the Hawaii Women Lawyers noted that the Honolulu Star Advertiser credited Luke along with Senate Ways and Means Chair David Ige for the $844 million budget surplus in 2013. The Women Lawyers also noted that Representative Luke, together with Judiciary Chair Karl Rhodes, presided over public hearings on the controversial marriage equality bill. Luke's steady and respectful role in jointly leading the process no doubt served to promote equal opportunities for all people in Hawaii, the organization said.

Luke was born in Seoul, South Korea before immigrating to Hawaii. She attended Roosevelt High School and earned her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She received her law degree from the University of San Francisco Law School and was a member of the USF Law Review. In addition to her position in the Legislature, she is an attorney at the law firm of Cronin, Fried, Sekiya, Kekina and Fairbanks.

In 2000, Luke was awarded the Hawaii Technology Association Award for Outstanding Civic Leadership. She received the Korean American Coalition Pioneer Award in Leadership in 2003. She was also awarded the Certificate of Appreciation for Consumer Protection from the AARP and the Humane State Legislator Award from the Humane Society in past years.

Representative Belatti is a graduate of Princeton University and the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii, with a certificate from the Environmental Law Program. She is a practicing attorney with the Law Office of Eric Seitz and is currently serving in her fourth term for District 24. Representative Belatti is a former high school social studies teacher and has served as a State Campaign Spending Commissioner.

As Chair of the House Committee on Health, she is one of the pivotal members in the Legislature helping to guide measure to reform the Hawaii Health Connector. She also serves as a member of the Housing, Human Services, Judiciary and Consumer Protection committees. Since 2013, Belatti has served as Co-Chair of the Women's Legislative Caucus which advocates legislation on behalf of women in the State of Hawaii.

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