Will Espero is no stranger to working class values. Like so many of our Hawaii families, the Espero family came here with very little in their pockets - only an intense desire to succeed, a commitment to provide a better future for their family, and the hope that they too can afford the American dream.
Victor served in the U.S. Navy for 21 years, and was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan with his wife Paulina when William Espero was born on November 6, 1960.
As a military family moving from station to station they taught the Espero boys patience and fortitude, and a strong sense of duty. In addition to their military income, Victor and Paulina provided for their children by start small businesses, eventually owning and operating a care home, restaurant, and catering service.
Raising A Family, Building A Community
As a father, Will focused on teaching his children about investing in the community and always contributing back. He served as an AYSO coach as well as an Assistant Little League Coach.
He became an advocate for Ewa residents upon joining the neighborhood board, serving the community at a critical time when Ewa was experiencing rapid development and infrastructure changes. He eventually became Chair of the Ewa Neighborhood Board, working closely with the City & County of Honolulu to improve the community and ensure that Ewa's voice was at the table.
Answering The Call To Public Service
After raising children, becoming active in the community, and gaining substantial experience in the private sector, Senator Espero was appointed by Mayor Frank Fasi to serve in his administration as the Executive Secretary of the Honolulu Neighborhood Board Commission.
As the executive of an island-wide city agency that oversaw several hundred volunteer Neighborhood Board Members, a staff, and relationships with Commissioners, Will applied a common-sense approach to working with the Neighborhood Boards to bring the voice of the community back into government.
In 1999, Governor Benjamin Cayetano, the nation's first Filipino American governor, appointed Will to serve in the State House to fulfill the term of outgoing State Representative Paul Oshiro. After serving through the term as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Transportation, Will was successfully elected to the Hawaii State Senate in 2002. While in the Senate, Will served as the Vice Chair of the Economic Development & Taxation Committee, Chair of the Public Safety, Intergovernmental, Military Affairs Committee, and as Majority Flood Leader. During his Senate career, he has focused on reforming the Hawaii prison system, diversifying Hawaii's industries by fostering innovation and growth, and drive responsible development through balanced planning.
Championing Issues In The Legislature
Now serving in his third term in the Hawaii State Senate, Senator Espero has played a major role in shaping the policies and positions of the Senate. In his leadership capacity he has worked to strengthen Hawaii's local economy by diversification and innovation, reform Hawaii's prison system to reduce costs and recidivism.
He successfully passed 79 laws during his tenure at the legislature, many of which have direct statewide impact. He has established a record of pursuing practical approaches, building coalitions and encouraging collaboration, to get the best laws passed for Hawaii. In addition to his positions in the State Senate, Senator Espero also holds several appointed positions on task forces and advisory councils.