Les Ihara has served as state senator for District 9 since 1994, representing Palolo, St. Louis Heights, Maunalani Heights, Kaimuki, Kapahulu, West Diamond Head, and the Waikiki Gold Coast. Due to the reapportionment of districts, Ihara competed for the District 10 seat in 2012 against Republican opponents Douglas Lupton and Eric B. Marshall. He won the 2012 general election with 69 percent of the vote and was re-elected in 2016.
Ihara is a member of the committees on Copmmerce and Consumer Protection, International Affairs and the Arts, and Public Sfety and Intergovernmental and Military Affairs. In the past he served on Human Services, Energy and Environment, and Judiciary and Labor.
During his most recent term, Ihara advocated for civil rights through his support for legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples in Hawaii. Ihara also pushed for greater integrity and transparency in the Hawaii Legislature by seeking to ban political fundraisers when the Legislature is in session.
Prior to joining the Senate, Ihara represented Palolo, Kaimuki, Kapahulu, and Diamond Head in the House of Representatives from 1986 to 1994.
Ihara was born on April 19, 1951, and is married to Catherine Cooke. He is an alumnus of the University of Hawaii and is a member of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. He is also on the boards of a number of civic organizations including the YMCA in Kaimuki and the Kettering Foundation.