Rep. Pine Honored Nationally As Filipina Of Distinction
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Part two in a series of articles honoring influential Filipinas
Kymberly Marcos Pine has accomplished much in her 37 years.
As a state representative (Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point), she is an inspiration for many - pushing forward in her career and personal life while breaking boundaries and stereotypes along the way.
In support of Pine and her achievements as a Filipino American, the Filipina Women’s Network (FWN) - a national non-profit association that fosters career, educational and social opportunities for Filipinas - selected her as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the U.S.
Pine was unable to attend the recent gala in Washington, D.C., because of legislative obligations,but she accepted the distinction with humility.“I feel a little undeserving,” said Pine.“I see myself as a simple person never really seeking recognition. My reward has always been knowing that I worked hard to be my very best and to show people that Filipinos can achieve great things.”
Marily Mondejar, president of FWN, can attest to Pine’s deserving of this award.
“Kymberly Pine, with work she has done for her community, serves as a role model for our future generations of leaders and shows what can be accomplished,” said Mondejar.
“(Pine) brings that hunger for making a difference,” asserted Mondejar.“Especially when you go against odds. (Pine) is a role model for Filipina women, being an elected official in Hawaii, and beating her incumbent on her first try - we thought that was very amazing.”
Pine defeated incumbent Romy Mindo with 60 percent of the vote. Elected to the state House of Representatives in 2004, Pine is the first Republican to be elected to her position since statehood.
Coming from humble beginnings, Pine said her family was your typical Filipino family where three generations lived under one roof. “When I was young,my brother,my mom and dad and I lived in the living room of my grandparents’ home,“she recalled.“Many people raised me. Filipino food was usually our diet. We were always going to Filipino parties with the traditional dances and songs. It was a lot of fun!”
Her mother, of Filipino ancestry and her father, an American, taught her the value of embracing both cultures.
“I am a proud American first, but what is so great about this country is that you can still honor your family’s ethnicity,“said Pine.“I see myself as a Filipina and an American.”
Pine’s charisma and passionate work ethic have graced her with success.Graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, Pine never imagined she would become a leader in the political circle. Obtaining her bachelor’s degree in English, she won numerous awards for her writing in college, and was set on becoming a journalist until she was presented with the chance of a lifetime.
“I got an opportunity to work for Arnold Schwarzenegger on a political campaign to promote after-school education. Then when Gov. Lingle was running for the second time, I knew I had to come back to Hawaii to help her get elected,“said Pine. “I applied for a job as the minority research director at the state Capitol and was the first Filipino appointed to that position, and one of the youngest at 33.”
Pine realized becoming a state representative was well within reach. “I primarily ran for office because I felt that Ewa Beach was left behind. Our schools weren’t getting any funding, and we definitely weren’t getting any funding for roads.”
Since Pine’s election to office three years ago, Ewa Beach received $265 million for the construction of new roads,renovation of area schools and a variety of other projects.
“My staff jokes that I can retire now because all the projects I was fighting for finally got funded during my first three years,” she said.
Pine also serves on several House committees including judiciary, labor and public employment, public safety and military affairs, as well as transportation.
“Don’t settle for anything less than the best of yourself. Search tirelessly for what you are good at and perfect your skills,” Pine advised. “Never live your life just to get by - to do so is wasting your life and not fulfilling what God put you on earth for. Be proud to be Filipino and teach your children the best of our culture. Always prove yourself to others by showing pride in everything you do.”
When Pine is not busy making a difference in the community and in the political arena, as a newlywed,she enjoys spending time with her husband, Navy Lt. Brian Ryglowski, and participating in triathlons.
“I did my first triathlon in September to promote women’s health,“Pine said.“Every year I challenge myself to do something new. One year was the 2.4-mile Waikiki rough water swim, which was tough being that I never took a swimming course before that year. Another year I did the Molokai channel 42-mile canoe race.”
In a short period of time, Pine has achieved a promising career, a good marriage and the comfort of knowing that she is making a positive difference for future generations.What more could she ask for?
“What is really missing in my life is children,“said Pine.“I am looking forward to the challenge of being a mother, a job that I see as much harder than anything I have ever done.”
As Pine continues to accomplish great things, she always remembers her roots and the strides her family has made.
“Not long ago, my family came to America from the Philippines to work on plantations in Hawaii in search of the American dream.They were so poor but still very proud of their Filipino heritage and honored to be given the gift of being American. Nothing is harder than what my grandparents did on the plantation. My life is easy.”
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