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Three Maui women in contention for Board of Regents county seat

February 11, 2011
The Maui News

HONOLULU - Three women have been presented as finalists to fill the Maui County seat on the University of Hawaii Board of Regents.

The Regents Candidate Advisory Council announced a list of names to fill four of the board regent seats, including two for Honolulu, one for Hawaii County and the Maui County seat currently held by James Haynes. Maui finalists are Habitat for Humanity Maui Executive Director Sherrilee "Sherri" Dodson, attorney Georgia McMillen and graphic designer Saedene Ota.

Dodson holds a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Hawaii and a law degree from Western State Law School. She was born on Oahu, but has lived on Maui for 34 years. Prior to joining Habitat for Humanity as its first executive director, Dodson worked with the law offices of Jan K. Apo for 12 years and then practiced immigration law as a sole practitioner.

She currently is on the Hawaii Public Housing Authority board and serves as treasurer for the Maui Nonprofit Directors Association.

McMillen also graduated from the University of Hawaii but earned her law degree from the New York Law School in 1987. She practiced law at two firms in New York and New Jersey, specializing in commercial, environmental insurance and bankruptcy litigation. In 1998, she returned home to Hawaii.

She provides pro bono services through the Volunteer Legal Services of Hawaii and is a longtime member of the Outreach Program at Keawala'i Congregational Church. She also has served as an adjunct faculty member at Hawaii Pacific University and at UH-Maui College.

Born and reared in Hawaii, Ota worked in Northern California and Chicago before she established her award-winning graphic-design firm on Maui. She studied graphic design and packaging at UH-Manoa, California State University, Northridge, and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif.

Ota is also the owner of Maui Thing, an apparel retail store in Wailuku.

Her wide-ranging community service includes board involvement with the Maui Economic and Development Board, Hawaii State Art Museum, Maui Memorial Medical Center Foundation and A Keiki's Dream.

The Regents Candidate Advisory Council provided the three finalists' names to Gov. Neil Abercrombie. He must select nominees for the Board of Regents from the list, and his appointments must be confirmed by the state Senate during the current legislative session.



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