A Life of Public Service

Dave DeLeon’s life has been focused on family and his career in government, journalism and community service.  Dave and Hiroko moved to Maui from Oahu in 1979 and for the last 28 years they have lived on their mini-farm in Haiku. They have two sons, Paul and Dr. Thomas DeLeon and three grandsons, Drew, Evan and Noah of Wailuku.

Dave and Hiroko met in Japan 50 years ago and they have been married for 49 years. On Oahu Dave served as the Director of Research for the House Minority in the State Legislature (1977); produced research projects for the University of Hawaii’s Social Science Research Institute; and worked at the State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. After moving to Maui, Hiroko started her 34-year career as Maui College’s Japanese Language Professor.

Dave’s Maui career focused on Maui County government. Serving as Mayor Linda Lingle’s Executive Assistant (1991-98), Dave was in-charge of a wide variety of responsibilities: managing the appointments for 35 County Boards and Commissions; engaging the State Legislature; creating the County’s bikeway system; and park land expansion. Dave led the land acquisition for the Fourth Marine Division Park expansion in Haiku; for Makawao’s Eddie Tam complex expansion; and the creation of the beach access parking at Kihei’s Charlie Young’s Beach and the Kuau Beach access (aka Blue Tile Beach.) As the Chief of Staff to Mayor Alan Arakawa (2003-2006), Dave helped lead in the general management of the county government, and takes pride in the part he played in assuring that the Hana community gained control over the Mu’olea Point Reserve. He also served on two Maui County Charter Commissions.

As a journalist, Dave was a part of a team of writers who wrote the first draft of Maui’s history from 1980 to 2002, while working as a lead reporter at The Maui News, for The Maui Sun, and as the editor of The Maui Weekly.   Reporting the news gave Dave a strong sense of the complexity and beauty of the Maui community. As the Government Affairs Director for the Realtors Association of Maui, Dave drove actions on land use law, planning, property rights and affordable housing development until 2016.

When Dave and Hiroko moved to Maui from Honolulu, they vowed to “become opihi” – they decided to stick to Maui no manner what waves hit them, to become a part of Maui, and make it their forever home. Dave did that through his engagement with the community, youth soccer and his leadership in making Maui safe to cycle. He worked for 30 years – inside and out of government — for the completion of the Northshore Greenway  (the bikeway from Paia to Kahului). He also served on the Maui YMCA Board of Directors and as a member of the Maui Physical Fitness and Nutrition Coalition Board. He is current the Vice President of the Na Hale O Maui (affordable housing non-profit) Board of Directors.

Dave is a Viet Nam veteran (1965-69). He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies/ Journalism, and a Masters of Arts in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.