Deidre Tegarden
Deidre Tegarden

Candidate Profile

Candidate’s Name: Deidre Tegarden
Phone: (808) 276-5756
Website Address:
Politician Office/Position Sought: State House of Representative
Representative District: 11, South Maui (Kihei-Wailea-Makena)
Are you and incumbent? No
Campaign contact name: Deidre Tegarden
Phone number: (808) 276-5756
Email address:

Deidre Tegarden, Democratic candidate for the State House, District 11 (Kihei-Wailea-Makena) served as Chief of Protocol for the state of Hawaii in Governor Neil Abercrombie’s administration, and through the transition to Governor David Ige’s administration.

Prior to that she was Director of the Office of Economic Development for Maui County and before that Executive Director of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Maui.

She is a Weinberg Fellow and recipient of Pacific Business News’ “Forty Under 40” award; past president of the Rotary Club of Kahului and a current member of the Kihei-Wailea Rotary; a member of the Kihei Community Association; a volunteer for Kihei Fourth Friday; a board member of Maui OnStage and Maui Chamber Orchestra; and a member of the Maui chapter of the American Association of University Women.

Tegarden has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese and Chinese studies and lives in Kihei with her professional photographer husband, Shane.

1.  Why are you running for office?

South Maui is not being represented well. The community deserves a representative who respects the office by showing up to work, being present at roll call and when a vote is called for. The incumbent does not do this. My track record has proven me to be a leader with experience, dedication and the discipline to get things done.

2. What are your views about Hawaiian self-governance? In your capacity as a legislator what action, if any, would you advocate in support of Hawaiian self-governance?

I grew up in Japan, China and Hawaii and went to public school in Japan where I had to learn the language as well as customs that were so foreign to me. This profoundly changed and enriched my life and gave me a deep respect for other cultures. I believe the legislature has a responsibility to hear the many groups within the Native Hawaiian community and to work with them to come up with a governing system that respects and supports their culture.

3. When it comes to Native Hawaiian issues, what do you perceive your role as a legislator to be?

A legislator must invite conversation among all parties in order that all are heard and all are given an equal voice in decision-making. As a legislator, I would immediately reach out to the Native Hawaiian Caucus and Hawaiian leadership groups asking for their help, advice, views and input. For too long non-Hawaiians have made the rules and decisions.

What way can you, if elected, support Native Hawaiian concerns through your legislative abilities?

I can do my very best to make sure they are heard by the legislature and included.

If elected, describe specific Native Hawaiian bill ideas that you would be willing to propose or support for the advancement of Native Hawaiians?

I would support bills that ensure that Native Hawaiians and the sacred Hawaiian culture are never left out of decisions affecting them. I support Hawaiian language being kept alive by being taught in our schools and I would and do now support Hawaiian language emersion schools and I think we should direct more funding to them.