Virginia Enos: Why I am Running for Senate in the 25th District

Virginia Enos
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Virginia Enos

What’s happening to our nation and our great State is unsettling. We need to get our economy back on its feet. I want to be part of the solution, instead of just a hopeful but frustrated bystander.


At age 10 on a family vacation I visited Hawaii for the first time and, like many people, the impression it made was enduring. I knew I would return to call Hawaii home..

My very first job after graduating from the California Maritime Academy was with Hawaiian Tug and Barge. This is where I learned how to work sitting down because to stand on the bridge of a tug in rough conditions was most difficult. At my very next job “standing” watch on the bridge of a supertanker I learned “sitting” was not  proper A very gruffy captain found me in a chair on my first ship! Thanks to him it was a lesson I would never forget…

I spent the next 10 years being responsible for the safe navigation of some of the largest American ships in the world. Soon I was sailing as the “Chief Mate” (answering only to the Captain) and found myself personally responsible for the safety of the crew and efficient handling of raw crude worth millions of dollars and of extreme environmental risk.

Standing on the deck of a ship as large as a building in the freezing wind and snow of Alaska while loading one hundred thousand barrels of oil an hour is not for the faint of heart. And, I was one of the very first women to do this job. I did it because I wanted to own a home, pay my bills, and save for the future. Those years spent at sea taught me more about leadership, management, and inter-personal skills than I could ever imagine.

In 1995 my husband and I built a home in Kailua, had a baby, and I said good-bye to my life at sea. Yet our peaceful story soon took a bad turn.  A drug house over the back fence became a daily nightmare. We witnessed three drug raids on the same house in one year. Our home became the “stake-out” for HPD detectives as I willingly did all I could to help. Through this experience, I found the Kailua Neighborhood Board. With encouragement from others I became a member and ever since I have been helping my community find resolution to problems and conflicts.

When my daughter started school, I became involved in a new business venture as co-founder of the first offshore aquaculture venture in the United States. The high point for me was an invitation to Washington, DC to testify in front of congress on the status of ocean leasing. I was also able to be personally involved with the federal EPA in crafting environmental regulations for this brand new industry.

My husband’s business has seen good times. But now, like so many others, the life my family and I work so hard for is hanging by a thread. I am worried. Many of us are worried that the house we own, or the life we have built, or even the chance to start to build is at stake. I am more than troubled by the economic situation of both the state and country. I can no longer be a bystander watching as Hawaii continues to be mismanaged by those who have nothing but law school to draw upon as their entire life experience.

Running for office is not something I sought out. Community members, friends, family and other elected officials that I admire, asked me to. I would not be here if Sen. Fred Hemmings, and Rep. Cynthia Thielen had not encouraged me to run. I am very grateful and humbled to have their endorsement, their support, and their guidance.

Leadership skills, strong business background, a understanding of government taxation and regulations, and a personal understanding of the issues facing this district is the knowledge and experrince I will draw from if you accord me the honor of your vote. I am asking for your vote to be your State Senator. I know and appreciate from experience the joy  living here in Hawaii. I want to serve in the Senate to help preserve, nourish and protect all that makes Hawaii special and  to pass it on to our children.

Submitted by the Virginia Enos Campaign Committee. For more information on her campaign visit