Public Servant Awards

U.S. Acting Attorney, Stephanie Yonekura
U.S. Attorney, Stephanie Yonekura

Stephanie Yonekura
U.S. Attorney for Central District of California
Stephanie Yonekura is the Acting United States Attorney for the Central District of California. Based in Los Angeles, but responsible for a district of more than 18 million people across seven counties, she oversees approximately 270 assistant United States attorneys who handle criminal, civil and tax litigation involving the United States of America. Prior to assuming the top spot in the office, Ms. Yonekura served as the Acting First Assistant United States Attorney from April 2013 through August 2014, as the Executive Assistant United States Attorney for five years, and as an Assistant United States Attorney for her first five years in the office. As a prosecutor, Ms. Yonekura focused on white-collar crime, including securities fraud, investor fraud, bank fraud, tax fraud, identity theft, money laundering and public corruption. Prior to joining the United States Attorney’s Office, Ms. Yonekura was a Special Assistant United States Attorney with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, clerked for United States District Judge A. Howard Matz, and had a white-collar criminal and civil defense practice while at O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Los Angeles.

Maryland Delegate, Kumar Barve


Kumar Barve
State Delegate
House of Delegates

Kumar Barve was the first Indian American elected to serve in a state legislature in United States history. He has represented a Montgomery County district in the Maryland House of Delegates since 1990. He is now running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Maryland’s 8th Congressional district, which encompasses parts of Montgomery, Frederick and Carroll Counties.

Barve has been in legislative leadership for much of his career, serving as House Majority Leader from 2003-2014 and now as Chairman of the House Environment and Transportation Committee. His committee has oversight of the environment, land use, state ethics and transportation policy.

As Majority Leader, Barve was the floor leader for the Democratic Party and a senior member of the fiscal leadership in the House. He helped guide policies that resulted in balanced budgets and the maintenance of the state’s Triple-A bond rating.

Barve’s groundbreaking legislative career has been highlighted by achievements in heath care, technology and the environment. He was a primary architect of Maryland’s 1993 landmark reform of health insurance and was the prime sponsor of a later law that allowed patients to use physicians outside of their HMO network. As Chairman of a Technology Subcommittee, Barve’s work led to the creation of Maryland’s highly successful Technology Development Corporation, the state’s technology tuition assistance program and the early “e-commerce’ Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act which served as a guidepost for consumer protection in the then nascent world of online transactions. More recently, Barve’s environmental efforts resulted in a state moratorium on fracking and a revision to the state’s stormwater management law.

Barve’s achievements have been recognized by groups as diverse as the Montgomery County Medical Society, the Maryland Association of Non-profit Organizations and the Technology Council of Maryland. His re-election campaigns have been endorsed by the Sierra Club, the AFL-CIO, the Maryland State Education Association, Progressive Maryland and the Washington Post.

Barve, an accountant, also serves as the Chief Financial Officer of an environmental management company in Rockville, Maryland.

Barve, 56, grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and attended Montgomery County Public Schools before graduating from Georgetown University. He resides in Rockville, Maryland with his wife, Maureen Quinn, who serves as a Commissioner on the Maryland Worker’s Compensation Commission.

Tony Hwang
Connecticut State Senator, Tony Hwang

Tony Hwang
Connecticut State Senate
Connecticut State Senator Tony Hwang didn’t speak a word of English when his family immigrated to the United States from Taiwan when he was 8 years old.

Indeed, it has not been an easy road for the 50-year-old Chinese-American immigrant – but that has made all the difference. His journey has given Tony an immeasurable appreciation and respect for America and the opportunities freedom provides to those who are willing to work hard for what they want in life.

With the support of amazing teachers and an unrelenting work ethic that he credits to his father, the late Li-Kong Hwang, Tony learned English and became a stand-out athlete in an urban school setting in Watertown, NY. He attended and graduated from Cornell University, where he met his wife, Grace. The two have supported each other in their professional pursuits, Tony as an executive search consultant and, eventually, as a Realtor, while Grace established her career in financial services where she is currently the Americas Operations Chief Operating Officer at Morgan Stanley.

A fortuitous combination of a local education issue and an urge to give back to the community, prompted Tony to become politically active in 2005. He won election to Fairfield’s Representative Town Meeting (the town’s legislative body) on the Republican ticket that year and, building on his commitment to public service, in 2008 was elected as a state Representative of the 134th District – a seat he held for six years.

After running a successful, issue-based campaign, on Jan. 7, 2015, Tony was sworn in as the first Asian-Pacific American state Senator in Connecticut history. Representing the 28th District towns of Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Weston and Westport, he is the ranking member on the Housing and Labor and Public Employees committees, and a member of the Commerce and Veterans’ Affairs committees.

A champion of both fiscal and social responsibility, built on the premise that people need a hand-up not a hand-out, Tony is actively involved in numerous nonprofit organizations, including The Kennedy Center, Operation Hope, Urban League of Southwestern CT, League of Conservation Voters and the Family Justice Center of Connecticut.

Tony’s unique brand of politics and grassroots, community-centered approach to representative government has proven to transcend party lines, as demonstrated in his decisive election wins. His successful approach is reinforced through countless anecdotes from Democrats in his district who say Tony is the first and only Republican they’ve ever voted for. Indeed, Tony’s people-first philosophy is guided by a mission to restore the public’s faith in our democratic process and to renew and constantly earn their trust through his work as their representative.

Tony lives in Fairfield, CT with his wife and their children, Christina and Peter.