Maui’s Tsutsui Re-Elected Senate President
By Wendy Osher
Maui State Senator Shan S. Tsutsui (Sen. District 5) has once again been elected as the president of the Senate. He will preside during the 27th Hawaii State Legislature, which convenes on Jan. 16, 2013.
Fellow Maui Senator, J. Kalani English will continue to chair the Transportation and International Affairs Committee; and Senator Roz Baker will chair the Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee.
While much of leadership and committee chairmanships remained unchanged from the 26th Legislature, additional standing committees were established to provide greater scrutiny over important subject matter areas. Action was also taken to provide a greater number of senators the experience and authority to preside as committee chairs and vice chairs.
Senate President Shan Tsutsui said the Senate wanted to buck the trend across the country of faction-based and partisan politics, that he said has too often delayed or stalled progress on important initiatives.
“By sharing the power amongst more senators, we hope to foster a more cooperative institution that can focus on and work towards the resolution of our most pressing issues,” said Senate President Tsutsui.
Also as part of the leadership decision, Senator Donna Mercado Kim (Sen. District 14) continues her role as Senate vice president and chair of the Senate Committee on Tourism and Government Operations and the Special Committee on Accountability. Senator David Ige (Sen. District 16) will also continue as chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, with Senator Michelle Kidani (Sen. District 18) serving as his vice chair.
Senate leaders say the body acted quickly to organize after the Nov. 6, 2012 general election, with a primary goal of promoting an environment of cooperation and shared leadership and authority.
“We are excited to have reached agreement so quickly. This will allow us to focus our attention on the issues and begin preparations for the 2013 session,” said Sen. Ige.
A complete listing of Senate Leadership and Committee Chairmanships includes the following:
- President: Shan S. Tsutsui
- Vice President: Donna Mercado Kim
- Majority Leader: Brickwood Galuteria
- Ways and Means, Chair: David Ige
- Ways and Means, Vice Chair: Michelle Kidani
- Majority Floor Leader: Will Espero
- Majority Caucus Leader: Ron Kouchi
- Majority Policy Leader: Les Ihara, Jr.
- Majority Whip: Gil Kahele
- Majority Whip: Jill Tokuda
- Judiciary and Labor, Chair: Clayton Hee
- Commerce and Consumer Protection, Chair: Roz Baker
- Agriculture, Chair: Clarence Nishihara
- Arts and Technology, Chair: Glenn Wakai
- Economic Development and Housing, Chair: Donovan Dela Cruz
- Energy and Environment, Chair: Mike Gabbard
- Education, Chair: Jill Tokuda
- Hawaiian Affairs, Chair: Brickwood Galuteria
- Health, Chair: Josh Green, M.D.
- Higher Education, Chair: Brian Taniguchi
- Human Services, Chair: Suzanne Chun Oakland
- Public Safety and Military Affairs, Chair: Will Espero
- Special Committee on Accountability, Chair: Donna Mercado Kim
- Tourism and Government Operations, Chair: Donna Mercado Kim
- Transportation & International Affairs, Chair: J. Kalani English
- Water and Land, Chair: Malama Solomon