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Hawaii Business Magazine’s 20 for the Next 20: People to Watch 2012

20 emerging leaders in local businesses, nonprofits, government, education and law

(page 2 of 21)

Photo: Courtesy of Mauna Kea Trask

MAUNA KEA TRASK  age 32

Deputy county attorney, Kauai

Mauna kea trask practically has litigation in his DNA. Starting with his grandfather, many of the Trasks have been dedicated attorneys throughout the state.

“The No. 1 thing that inspires me is my family, what we stand for and what we were taught to do,” says Trask, “and, I don’t want to let anyone in my family down.”

He is humble about his own accomplishments, but those around him say Trask is especially adept at establishing common ground between conflicting parties and their competing interests.

Alfred Castillo, the Kauai county attorney, says he was honored when Trask applied for a position with the county. “Mauna Kea is a very dedicated attorney and has a bright future ahead of him, in addition to being a fine person,” Castillo says.

From a young age, Trask wanted to be a public defender. Raised on Kauai, the Kamehameha Schools alumnus (class of ’97) went to Oregon State for his undergraduate studies before returning home to complete law school at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2004. His spent two years as a public defender, followed by stints in the circuit courts, the Kauai Office of the Prosecuting Attorney and, now, the Kauai County attorney’s office.

In the small county-attorney offices on the Neighbor Islands, the staff lawyers handle a wide range of cases and Trask enjoys the opportunity to manage diverse issues, from civil defense to land use. “You’re faced with a lot of challenges to keep Hawaii viable and moving forward,” says Trask, “but, at the same time, you don’t want to lose the romance or character – you know, the old stuff.”

It is his passion for his island home coupled with his legal skills that make him a key player in the future of his community. “He pays attention to the issues and focuses on keeping Kauai Kauai,” Castillo says.

— TZ

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