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The Hawaii Business 20 for the Next 20

(page 2 of 21)

    Photo: Mark Arbeit

Randy Baldemor, age 37

Deputy director, state Department of Taxation

It’s clear that Randy Baldemor is unafraid of new challenges.

Since arriving in the Islands in 2000, he has worked as an attorney, an insurance executive, a high-tech entrepreneur and the leader of an education reform group called Hawaii’s Children First.

Now, he is deputy director of the state Department of Taxation under Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Hawaii’s Children First persuaded a majority of voters to approve a constitutional amendment that changed the elected state school board into one appointed by the governor – a measure rejected by the electorate twice before.

“I was not very involved in public education beforehand,” says Baldemor, father of two young children, with a third on the way. “But I do try to be very interested in what is happening in the community. If there is a way I can help out, I am happy to get involved. So, when the (teacher) furloughs arose, I just wanted to do it.”

But, he stresses, Hawaii’s Children First was a true grassroots effort. “We had an incredible group of volunteers and supporters, including many leaders in the community. If they didn’t get involved, it would not have happened.”

University of Hawaii law professor Randy Roth, who worked with Baldemor on the amendment effort, puts it the other way around. Without Baldemor, he insists, the amendment would not have passed.

“Randy seems not to care about getting credit for himself,” Roth says. “His focus seems to be solely on getting the job done.”

Baldemor, originally from Ohio, attended law school at the University of Washington, where he met his wife, Jill, now executive director of Teach for America-Hawaii.

“She wanted to move back to Hawaii, so, in 2000, we did,” he says.

Before leading Hawaii’s Children First, Baldemor worked with Colbert Matsumoto, of Tradewind Capital Group and Island Insurance, to create a firm called Discovery Box, which created software designed to manage huge amounts of “discovery” data generated in legal cases. The slow economy has prevented Discovery Box from generating momentum, but Baldemor hopes the product will one day take off.


1. Randy Baldemor
2. James Bennett
3. Kalei Cadinha-Puaa
4. Kainoa Daines
5. Matthew Delaney
6. Mark Duda
7. Charles Hew-Len
8. Michael Kaleikini
9. Daniel Leuck
10. Jennifer Li Dotson
11. Bryan Luke
12. Wesley Machida
13. Makani Maeva
14. Cameron Nekota
15. Robert Piper
16. Carol Reimann
17. Claire Sullivan
18. Michael Tresler
19. Raymond Vara, Jr.
20. Aulani Wilhelm

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