Puette receives two-year appointment to Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission

Photo of a man in a black polo shirt standing next to a window to an office with the shades drawn closed. In the window is a sign that says Center for Labor Education and Research

Dr. William Puette

Dr. William Puette, director of the Center for Labor Education and Research at UH West Oʻahu, is now a member of the Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission after being nominated for the volunteer post by Gov. David Ige and being unanimously confirmed by the Hawaiʻi State Senate. 

Puette is slated to serve for two years on the five-member commission, which enforces state laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and access to state and state-funded services. Commissioners are appointed based on knowledge and experience in civil rights and help adjudicate civil rights complaints.

Puette was invited to apply for commissioner seat by Commission Executive Director Bill Hoshijo and nominated by Ige for the post in March. More than 20 individuals, political groups, and labor organizations submitted testimony endorsing Puette for the role.

“I cannot imagine a better candidate for the CRC. Dr. Puette is one of the finest, most fair-minded, knowledgeable people I have ever had the privilege to know,” testified one of his supporters. “Yes – confirm Dr. Puette – absolutely.”

Puette’s appointment was approved by the Hawaiʻi Senate Committee on Judiciary, which noted his educational experience, historical expertise, and commitment to serving the community would be a “great asset” on the Commission.  The full senate affirmed his nomination by a 25-0 vote.

Puette has served as CLEAR director since 1993 and a University of Hawaiʻi faculty member since 1992. He is the only Certified Parliamentarian in the state of Hawaiʻi, an author, and recipient of awards for service to the community, including the Hung Wo and Elizabeth Lau Ching Faculty Service to the Community Award in 2005.

Puette is also a labor arbitrator, a Professional Registered Parliamentarian, and a member of the Association of Hawai‘i Archivists and the Hawaiian Historical Society. Over the years he has worked with the Commission on joint educational programs, and was the volunteer webmaster that created the first website for the HCRC (1997-2003).

Image courtesy of UHWO Staff