Ranking GOP legislator pursues House Speakership to end political infighting, lead bipartisan collaboration, get to work
News Release from Office of Rep Cynthia Thielen, January 29, 2018
To stop the factional fighting and stalemate-causing dysfunction in the Hawaii House of Representatives, Representative Cynthia Thielen has placed her name for consideration as Speaker. If selected, she would be the first Republican woman to serve in the role.
Long-term members and new factions of the Democratic-controlled House continue battling, each wishing to exercise control. Earlier this month, Representatives Ken Ito and James Tokioka were replaced as chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Veterans, Military & International Affairs, & Culture and the Arts Committee. Reps. Matt LoPresti and Beth Fukumoto assumed the leadership posts.
Frustrated by the lack of focus on first helping Hawaii's people, and the infighting, political maneuvering plus a parade of legislators from both parties who continue coming to her to propose leadership changes, House Minority Floor Leader Thielen has stepped up.
Precedent for a Speaker of the House to come from a Minority Party has been set:
- In Vermont's Republican-controlled Legislature, Democrat and House Minority Leader Ralph Wright was chosen as Speaker and served from 1985 to 1995.
- Earlier, Democrat Timothy O'Connor was elected Vermont's House Speaker due to his skill to resolve disagreements by focusing on common ground. It brought bipartisan cooperation and beneficial legislation during his terms as Speaker from 1975 to 1981.
"Hawaii's people deserve and need a Legislature that is not divisive like Congress in Washington., D.C. As the longest-serving Republican in the House, I've worked with lawmakers from both parties to benefit our residents. This House needs collaborative leadership to bring consensus and get things done," Thielen stated.
Thielen intends to appoint Committee Chairs by merit and allow those Chairs to select their own Vice Chairs. Other Democratic and Republican leadership positions will be decided by their respective Caucuses.