Kim Coco Iwamoto is a commissioner on the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, appointed by Governor Neil Abercrombie to serve the four-year term from 2012 to 2016.
Iwamoto previously served two terms with the Hawai Board of Education. Iwamoto, a trans woman was elected in November 2006, making her at that time the highest ranking openly transgender elected official in the United States and the first openly transgender official to win statewide office.She has stated that being a transgender woman never came up publicly during her campaign. She was reelected in 2010 with 25% more votes than in 2006.
Iwamoto, a Japanese-American born on the island of Kauai, is a graduate of St. Louis High School. She received an A.A. in Merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Technology, a B.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, and her J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law.
Iwamoto publicly opposed passage of California's Proposition 8, outlawing same-sex marriages in California. She has stated that Proposition 8 reminds her of her mother's internment during World War II and believes the proposition is a violation of essential civil rights, stating, "The country has acknowledged that [internment] as a mistake, to just go with populous fear to oppress a specific group. I think we're going to look back at this kind of oppression as a mistake."