I was born and raised in the district of Hamakua in Pa’auilo. I have seen and experienced the vast changes since the demise of our sugar industry and witnessed the economic hardships of our people. Growing up in a plantation village, I was fortunate to be raised in a thriving multicultural society, providing me with a broad range of tools to help me address the diverse concerns of our island population.
I graduated from Honoka’a High School in 1977. I received my diploma in Health Care Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Hawai’i, West Oahu Campus. I also received a Paralegal Certificate from the University of Hawaii, Hilo.
I have 3 beautiful children – Rochelle, Mikela and the late Keoki Ahuna. I am married to a wonderful man, Ira “Sonny” Poindexter, III, who is a carpenter by trade and a member of the Hawaii Carpenters Union. He enjoys playing softball in the Charlie Kalei 50 & Over Softball League for a team called Da Hui. He also volunteers his time with the Honoka’a Hawks Special Olympics team.
My interest in public service stems from my heritage and includes watching people struggle through life just to make ends meet. My father always taught me to fight for the underdog – the people who are falling through the cracks, the people who have no voice, the people who are not treated fairly. My father also taught me how to build bridges between diverse people and to facilitate a process of compromise that results in a win-win situation. My mother taught me how to be compassionate and to always treat people with dignity. I want to be able to help empower people to make healthy choices in their lives and take control of their future.