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Appointments in Hawaii fill vacant seats

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January 14, 2013


By Jennifer Springer

HONOLULU, Hawaii: Following the appointment of lieutenant governor Brian E. Schatz to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy left by Daniel Inouye's death on December 17, Governor of Hawaii Neil Abercrombie announced the appointments to fill the vacant lieutenant governor and state senate positions.[1][2]

On December 27 Gov. Abercrombie announced that under the order of succession former state senate President Shan S. Tsutsui accepted the position of Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, effective immediately.[1]

While initially there was talk of Tsutsui possibly turning down the position, Tsutsui instead decided to follow line of succession and accepted the new role.[3] In a press release announcing his appointment Tsutsui stated, "The decision to leave the state senate was not a choice I made lightly, but I am eager to make a meaningful contribution to the future of Hawaii as Lt. Governor. There is much work to be done in the Senate, but I have full confidence in my colleagues at the Legislature. I look forward to working with them this session in my new role."[1]

With Tsutsui's move to the position of lieutenant governor, it left a vacancy in the state senate.[4] Six Maui Democrats filed to be in the running for the appointment to replace Tsutsui's seat.[4] According to state law, Gov. Abercombie would have had a 60 day period from the day the seat became vacant, December 27, to make his decision for the appointment.[4]

On January 7, 2013 Neil Abercrombie announced Rep. Gil Keith-Agaran to fill the vacancy.[2] Keith-Agaran (D) previously was appointed to the House in January 2009 to complete the unexpired term of the late Bob Nakasone and was re-elected twice.[2]

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