Gov.-elect Josh Green's staff has diverse skill sets

Nov. 24—Gov.-elect Josh Green has staffed his office with a diverse group of women with backgrounds in government and the private sector, including a new Cabinet-­level position focused on workforce and affordable housing, homelessness and social service policies.

Gov.-elect Josh Green has staffed his office with a diverse group of women with backgrounds in government and the private sector, including a new Cabinet-­level position focused on workforce and affordable housing, homelessness and social service policies.

His current chief of staff, Brooke Wilson, will continue as chief of staff when Green is sworn in Dec. 5 at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena. Her background includes experience in construction, nonprofits, technology and communications.

Green is elevating the position of chief housing officer to Cabinet-level status, and has named Nani Medeiros to fulfill the role. The position is equal to other Cabinet members to emphasize the importance of the role, Green's office said. He is expected to also appoint a homeless coordinator.

Medeiros will be responsible for efforts on workforce and affordable housing, homelessness and social service policies.

Medeiros is currently the executive director of Home Aid Hawaii and worked with Green during his tenure as lieutenant governor to develop Hawaii's first kauhale village of tiny homes to provide permanent housing for homeless people in Kalaeloa. HomeAid Hawaii—a hui of Hawaii builders—provided labor, expertise and materials for the project.

During her previous 18 years of experience at the state Capitol, Medeiros worked with Democratic and Republican legislators and with former Gov. Linda Lingle for five years advising on housing, homelessness, transit-oriented development, human serv ­ices, health and education—experience she will use in her new role, Medeiros told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

She hopes to combine her bipartisan government and private sector experience to help find ways to streamline housing construction at lower costs.

"We can't control materials cost, or the cost of labor, " she said. "But how can we, as government, reduce the overall costs ? How are we, as government, increasing those costs ?"

In addition to Wilson and Medeiros, Green's appointments include :—Lori Abe, deputy chief of staff, who was vice president of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.—Makana McClellan, director of communications, who most recently served as director of business development and community relations and director of marketing and communications at Shriners Children's Hospital. Previously she was public information officer for The Queen's Health Systems.—Felea 'i Tau, director of constituent services and protocol, who has worked for the past 18 years as Green's office manager and as special assistant to the lieutenant governor.—Keala Patterson, protocol officer, who most recently served as director of public affairs at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.—Krystle Cook, administrative services officer, who most recently served as an advancement operations officer at Punahou School.—Shari Carter, executive assistant to the first lady, who has served as the administrative services officer for the office of the lieutenant governor.

Green's transition team is continuing interviews to find 17 directors and 28 deputies to run state departments.

Applications are still being accepted for a variety of government positions through GreenTransition 2022.org, or the state's hiring portal jobs.hawaii.gov.

"I am assembling a team that will help me drive an ambitious agenda for Hawaii during the next four years, " Green said in a statement. "It is a group of dedicated, qualified professionals with years of experience in their respective fields. Each brings with them the passion to make a difference and meet the challenges facing Hawaii.

"I have been so excited to see the incredible quality of applicants who have already applied to work in the administration, " he said. "This really gives me hope that a great future lies ahead for our state."

Green's inauguration ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Dec. 5 with his swearing in at noon at the Blaisdell Arena. It is free and the public is invited. Doors open at 9 a.m.

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