Mr. Mida was raised in Pohnpei, Chuuk, and Hawaii. He is the son of Kasio E. Mida, from Chuuk State, and Ginger Porter Mida, from Pohnpei State and American Samoa. Mr. Mida received his B.A. degree from Humboldt State University (CA) in 1999 and conducted his senior internship for the Honorable Chief Justice Andon L. Amaraich, FSM Supreme Court. Immediately after graduating, Mr. Mida returned to Chuuk State and worked as a teacher at Saramen Chuuk Academy and the College of Micronesia.
Mr. Mida attended Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan, where he earned his Juris Doctor Degree in 2005. He was the Managing Editor of the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review and earned the Certificate of Merit for Highest Academic Grade in Criminal Law, Law Practice, and International Human Rights. Mr. Mida clerked as a student extern for the Honorable Richard F. Suhrheinrich, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and, after graduation, clerked for the Honorable Paula J.M. Manderfield, Michigan, Ingham County Circuit Court, General Trial Division. Prior to joining the law firm, Mr. Mida was the Chief of Litigation for the FSM Department of Justice. Mr. Mida teaches law at the College of Micronesia in the trial counselor certificate program.
Michigan State Bar
Federated States of Micronesia Bar
Mr. Mida provides legal advice regarding incorporation within the FSM or individual states, drafts and files incorporating documents, provides legal opinions on issues ranging from board compensation and security interest to dissolution and liquidation.
Mr. Mida has successfully obtained judgments or successfully defended clients in cases involving fraud, election fraud appeals, conspiracy, and insurance defense.
Mr. Mida has successfully lobbied for new or amended legislation and regulations on both the state and national level ranging from farming and exporting of mangrove crab to corporate income tax and insurance matters.
Micronesian Conservation Trust
Basketball, volleyball, lifting weights, hiking, jogging, fishing, canoeing, cooking
Founder & first elected President of a non-profit NGO in Chuuk: GATA (Guide and Assist Through Awareness). Organization’s accomplishments: implemented for the first time in Chuuk State high school flag football; received annual funding from FSM government and Australian Embassy; hosted drug abuse seminars for elementary and high school students.
TFB = The Fourth Branch
KM = Kasio "Kembo" Mida, Jr.
by: Otis Aisek
TFB: Thank you for accepting our request for an interview. We would like to remind you that these questions were submitted by the public, via our website, our email, or they've been given to us personally.
TFB: Our first question, did you ever work for the government? What position and why did you get out?
KM: In 1999, I was a summer intern with the late Chief Justice Amaraich. From 2008-2009, I worked as an Assistant Attorney General for the FSM Department of Justice (DOJ). The reason I left the FSM DOJ was because I felt that the department needed to push more investigations and prosecutions.
TFB: What is the majority of your cases?
KM: I handle mostly litigation in court, such as breach of contract, wrongful termination, land disputes, family matters, etc.
TFB: What is a regular day as a lawyer in FSM like?
KM: I cannot speak for other lawyers. But for myself, it is pretty busy. I respond to emails, phone conferences with clients, conduct legal research and analysis, meet clients, appear in court, and meet with my partner Fred Ramp to discuss issues surrounding our cases. I typically work at home after work, responding to more emails or preparing for a hearing. I'm also a part-time teacher at the college, and a board member on the FSM Scholarship Board and the Micronesian Conservation Trust. So I also work on non-business matters throughout the day.
TFB: what is the most memorable case you've had and why?
KM: I represented Redley Killion, appealing an Election Commission's decision. The reason this case was memorable for me was because many of the issues surrounding our election process was brought to light. And as a result of the case, a re-election in one of the districts in Hawaii was granted, giving voters their constitutional right to vote.
TFB: Most of our capable citizens are finding greener pastures elsewhere, such as the U.S. and other countries not their own. Why did you choose to go back home?
KM: The pastures are greener here at home, to me. I've always felt that I could give more here in the FSM than in other countries. And that, to me, make the pastures greener. So when I left Chuuk in 2000, for law school, my goal was always to return to the FSM after gaining the experience.
TFB: Would you be making more [money] if you practiced in the U.S.A.?
KM: Probably. But the work would not be as rewarding as it is in the FSM.
TFB: What do you think our government should do back home to entice capable individuals (like yourself) to go back home and support their country?
KM: I believe there is a website, maybe the president's website, that posts jobs in the FSM. I think that's a good start for the FSM. We have to remember that the government's resources are limited, as far as advertising positions. But, if the government has to entice a person, then that person may not be the best person for the job. If an individual wants to return home, they will make the effort to find jobs that are available in the FSM.
Before I returned to the FSM, my goal was to secure a job in Chuuk. I applied for four different positions in Chuuk. When I applied for the jobs, I had a Juris Doctor degree from law school, passed the Michigan bar exam, and clerked for a judge in Michigan; however, I was not offered any of the positions. So I ended up applying for FSM jobs and eventually secured a job with the FSM Department of Justice in Pohnpei. My point is that if you want to return, it may not be a situation where the red carpet is rolled out for you but you will have to work hard to get that job that you want.
TFB: What would you say to us, who are living abroad to convince or support a decision to live in our own islands?
KM: In our islands, what we do tends to have more impact in our society. There is a sense of ownership in our islands that does not exist outside. Off course, there is the strong family bond that we share with our large extended family.
TFB: The President's nominee for the DOJ Secretary was recently turned down by Congress. If the President offers you the post tomorrow, would you accept the challenge?
KM: I am up to the challenge, but I would not accept it at this time. First, I have the best partner, Fred Ramp, who is mentoring and teaching me more than I could ever ask for. Second, I make more money as a private attorney, which allows me to pay my law school loan, help family members, and work toward financial security. So If I was more experienced and was financially secured today, I would gladly take the job.
TFB: Would you say our justice system is doing well? Do we need more lawyers?
KM: Our justice system has come a long way since the Trust Territory time. Like everything else, there is room for improvement, and I believe our justice system is on the path towards continued improvement. We definitely need more lawyers. Particularly, we need more qualified, local attorneys.
TFB: Do you think there's too much government? Should the FSM tone down on regulations to allow the private sector some room to grow?
KM: A significant part of my work involves me dealing with state and national regulations and regulators. I don't believe that the regulators and regulation should be toned down. But, we need reasonable and competent regulators to carryout the enforcement of the regulations.
TFB: Do you think that custom or culture often get[s] in the way of progress?
KM: I'm not an expert on custom or culture since I was raised here only part of my life. So I am not able to respond to this question.
TFB: Leadership in FSM believe that there can be a peaceful marriage between our customs and a western government. Is this realistic?
KM: (same answer as above)
TFB: In most of the 4th branch interviews, education has been noted as the key to bettering our country. What is your stance on this and do you believe in the importance of a traditional education?
KM: Education is important in bettering a country, but so too is having good leaders, strong laws, enforcement of those laws, public safety, a strong private sector, etc. Certainly education in culture would be important as well.
TFB: People keep saying that Chuuk is corrupt but they don't have any evidence or proof. Is this because of culture that they [don't prove] it? Or is it just rumor and they [don't] have proof?
KM: This may sound like an excuse since I am part Chuukese, but corruption is everywhere. As I mentioned earlier, I dealt with an election appeal that raised many issues with our election process in Chuuk. But there were also issues in U.S elections. I don't think that the culture stops us from trying to prove that there is corruption in Chuuk or any other state in the FSM. The private sector and the government are making reasonable efforts to combat corruption in our country.
TFB: Corruption in FSM is rampant. Most of our leaders use custom as an excuse to get out of problems. For example, giving people sacks of rice during a campaign and saying its custom to give gifts when visiting your neighbors, but it's obvious it's a bribe to win them votes. Should these types of customs be removed when they interfere with politics?
KM: I don't know if corruption is rampant in the FSM. And I also don't know if most of our leaders bribe for votes. If there are some bribery that violate laws then they should be prosecuted.
TFB: Should we have tougher penalties for more serious crimes? We have serious criminals who go to jail for a week for crimes that would usually see them in prison for a year or two.
KM: I think our penalties for the crimes committed are fine. The problem is prisons. So, often prisoners are penalized by given house/Island arrest.
TFB: Do you think this is another reason why there's so much corruption and violence in Chuuk, because we are quick to forgive and the penalties are not that serious?
KM: I don't know if Chuuk has so much corruption and violence as you stated in your question. I also don't know if Chuukese in general are quick to forgive. So, I can't answer your question.
TFB: What are your thoughts on the immigration issue of COFA countries in Hawaii? Do you think there should be limitations to the Micronesian influx to Hawaii or do you think there are other solutions to avoid limitation on COFA immigration to Hawaii?
KM: This is a very complicated issue that has arguments, both for and against limiting our access to the U.S or any other country. I think if a country wants to limit our access to their country to protect their well-being, interest, and citizens, it should have that right. I think our country would want that right as well.
TFB: Many people think that putting restriction on Micronesian's access to Hawaii is a civil rights issue. What's your input on this?
KM: Our constitution gives us the right to travel freely, which is a civil right. However, the right to go into another country is another matter all together. I don't believe this issue is a civil rights issue.
TFB: Do you think that our government, congress, should make a public announcement or statement about the COFA issue in Hawaii. Many of the talks on this issue are coming from Hawaii's side of the issue. Why isn't our government responding?
KM: Check with FSM PIO website. I am certain that our government is doing what it can to respond to this issue. It is a very important issue to us all. And I am certain it is one of the top priorities for our leaders.
TFB: Would you ever consider quitting the law firm to pursue a political career?
KM: If I am financially stable and thought I could do better than the current politician, certainly I would consider pursuing a political career.
TFB: The old generation of leadership is slowly fading out. How does the new group of leaders look in your opinion? Is the future of FSM hopeful?
KM: I think more of the new group of leaders are educated. And with more education combined with lessons learned from the older generations, I think the future of the FSM is very hopeful.