Richard Rapoza, a well-known public affairs professional in Hawaii, died Thursday in Honolulu.

Rapoza was 60 years old and most recently had been working as the communications director for the state Senate. A celebration of his life will be held in late September or early October.

Richard Rapoza. 

“He was a trusted and valued member of the Senate team,” said Senate President Ron Kouchi in a statement. “His immense contributions for the people of Hawaii were truly appreciated and he will be missed.”

Said Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English, “Richard’s passing is a huge loss for us here in the Senate and he will be sorely missed. He was an effective communicator and helped the Senate to clearly articulate our ideas and objectives to the people of Hawaii. Our condolences to his family.”

Rapoza served as Senate communications director since December 2018, having previously held the post from 2007-2011.

He was formerly employed at Kamehameha Schools (1991-2004), with former U.S. Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (2011-2014), with Hawaii Pacific University (2014-2016) and with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (2017-2018).

Born and raised in Honolulu, Rapoza was a graduate of Pearl City High School and received a B.A. in English from the University of Hawaii Manoa in 1981.

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