Donna Mercado Kim

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Donna Mercado Kim
13th President of the Hawaii Senate
In office
December 28, 2012 – May 5, 2015
Preceded by Shan Tsutsui
Succeeded by Ron Kouchi
Member of the Hawaii Senate
from the 14th district
Assumed office
December 2000
Preceded by Norman Mizuguchi[1]
Member of the Honolulu City Council, District VII
In office
Succeeded by Romy Cachola[2]
Personal details
Born Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Children Micah
Alma mater University of Hawaii, Manoa
Washington State University
Website Senate website

Donna Mercado Kim is an American Democratic party politician from Hawaii. She is a state senator from Senate District 14 and was President of the Hawaiʻi Senate for almost three years.


Kim is a graduate of Washington State University, although she also attended the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Political career[edit]

From 1982 to 1984, Kim was a member of the Hawaiʻi House of Representatives.

From 1986 to 2000, Kim served on the Honolulu City Council.[3]

Elected to the Senate in 2000, Kim has chaired the Committee on Tourism, the Committee on Ways and Means, the Special Committee on Accountability, and the Task Force on Reinventing Government.

From 2003 to 2008 and again from 2011 to 2013, Kim served as Vice President of the Senate.

In 2013, Kim became President of the Hawaiʻi Senate, replacing Shan Tsutsui who left the position to become Lieutenant Governor.[4] Kim's tenure as President of the Senate ended in 2015.[5]

During her tenure on the Honolulu City Council and state Legislature, Kim has earned a reputation as a watchdog on government waste and mismanagement. She has conducted public investigations on such issues as procurement and construction irregularities at the state’s airports, abuse of overtime by public employees, improper collection of student fees by the University of Hawaii, and inefficiency and overspending by various government agencies on contracted services.

In the legislative arena, Kim has been a proponent of public education, women’s rights, and business development, among other legislation. She secured money for the construction of a culinary arts center at Kapiolani Community College, for an increase student employment at the University of Hawaii, for additional money for numerous school construction projects throughout her senate district, and for a $67-million appropriation to restore cuts to the public schools budget. Kim introduced successful bills calling for a task force to assess the University of Hawaii’s policy on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and requiring county police departments to post policies involving domestic violence, officer-involved domestic violence, and standards of conduct. During a stint as chair of the Senate Tourism Committee, Kim led the passage of a measure to construct a Hawaiian music and dance center and another to preserve and maintain public recreational sites. The former owner of a small business, Kim has used her platform to advocate for assistance to companies competing for state contracts and to urge state agencies to give due consideration to women-, veteran-, and native Hawaiian-owned businesses when awarding state contracts. In recent years, she has sought to introduce all-mail voting to bolster the state’s poor voter turnout; the proposal has gained bicameral support but failed to overcome the final conference committee negotiation hurdle.

Kim has used her role as chair of the City Council’s Zoning Committee to adopt creative strategies to urban development, such as introducing restricted parking zones in congested neighborhoods and adopting land-use laws to gain concessions from developers to benefit residents. As a senator, she has used her authority to have government agencies and community organizations collaborate on finding solutions to such problems as leaking U.S. Navy fuel tanks and traffic problems in district neighborhoods.

As senate president, Kim presided over the Legislature’s approval of Hawaii’s medical marijuana bill and a five-step increase in the state’s minimum wage.

Her community service has included granting her “Aloha Spirit Award” since 1989 to students at Aiea Intermediate, Dole Middle, and Moanalua Middle schools for their academic and extracurricular excellence, participating in national campaigns to encourage literacy among children, and distributing school supplies to children from low-income households.[6]


Kim was born in Honolulu.

She is a Filipino American.[7]


  1. ^ Shapiro, Treena. "Two vie for Mizuguchi’s Senate seat Harding faces 'worthy battle' against Abinsay". The Honolulu Star-Bulletin. October 13, 2000. "This year legislative and City Council veteran Donna Mercado Kim is the Democrat running to fill the vacancy created by Senate President Norman Mizuguchi's retirement."
  2. ^ Dingeman, Robbie. "Change urged in spending reports". The Honolulu Advertiser. October 23, 2000. p. 1B.
  3. ^ Office of the City Clerk (24 April 2014). "COUNCILMEMBERS of the HONOLULU CITY COUNCIL 1961–Present". City and County of Honolulu. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "Donna Mercado Kim chosen Hawaiʻi Senate president". Hawaiʻi Tribune Herald. Honolulu. 29 December 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Dayton, Kevin (5 May 2015). "Kauai's Kouchi replaces Kim as Senate president". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Hawaii State Legislature. (n.d.). Retrieved January 09, 2018, from Senator Donna Mercado Kim
  7. ^ Medina, Andrei (4 January 2013). "Donna Mercado Kim becomes first Fil-Am to head Hawaiʻi Senate". GMA News Online. Honolulu. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 

External links[edit]