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Thursday, July 11, 2024
Kouchi Overthrow Risk in Waianae Senate?
By News Release @ 6:52 AM :: 1593 Views :: Democratic Party, Ethics, Politicians

Kouchi Overthrow Risk in Waianae Senate?

(EDITOR's NOTE: The Waianae Senate seat has been a factional tool for decades.  Shimabukuro was appointed by Abercrombie in 2010.  The last time Waianae elected a non-incumbent Senator was 1998 when they elected Broken Trust figure Colleen Hanabusa who, at the behest of Mafia Godfather Larry Mehau, immediately organized Senators to reject reappointment of AG Bronster as retaliation for Bronster’s investigations of corrupt KSBE Trustees.  Hanabusa was  replacing Sen James Aki, who was busted for gambling.  Aki and Hanabusa were Senate Presidents.  Shimabukuro has been a key vote in Kouchi’s ‘opihi’ faction and the presumption is that her endorsed replacement, Gates, would be as well.  Shimabukuro is only leaving because she was almost beaten by Republican Samantha Decorte in the 2022 race for Senate District 22.)

Civil Beat July 11, 2024 (excerpts)  … Gov. Josh Green says if he has to pick a new state senator for District 22 before the Aug. 10 primary it will be Cross Makani Crabbe.

Green told reporters at a press conference Wednesday that he is waiting on the state attorney general to tell him whether he has to fill the seat within 60 days after the seat becomes open or can wait until after the primary and let the voters decide which Democrat they want.

The seat became open when Sen. Maile Shimabukuro resigned on May 31.

Crabbe, Cedric Gates and Stacelynn Eli were selected by area Democrats to be on the short list given to Green for his consideration.

The Senate seat represents Ko Olina, Nanakuli, Maili, Waianae, Makaha and Makua….

If he selects Crabbe, however, that raises an unusual scenario, as Crabbe is running in the Democratic primary for House District 45 (Waianae, Makaha), which Gates is vacating to run for the open Senate seat.

Asked if picking Crabbe would tip the scale in his favor for the House seat, Green acknowledged that it was a unique situation driven by “internal politics.” He did not elaborate but appeared to be referring to legislative and policy disagreements between him and the Senate and the fact that Kouchi needs the support of 13 senators to lead the 25-member chamber….

read … Green Wants More Legal Advice Before Filling Senate Vacancy

BACKGROUND:

  *   *   *   *   *

GOVERNOR GREEN ANNOUNCES SENATE VACANCY DECISION

News Release from Office of the Governor, July 9, 2024

HONOLULU — Governor Josh Green, M.D., announced that the people of Senate District 22 (Ko ‘Olina, Nānākuli, Mā‘ili, Wai‘anae, Mākaha, Mākua) will decide who fills the seat vacated by former Sen. Maile Shimabukuro as of May 31, 2024. Governor Green formally transmitted a letter to Senate President Ron Kouchi today, to that effect.

The three individuals whose names were sent to the Governor are running for an open seat in that area; two are in active primaries for Senate District 22, Stacelynn Eli and Cedric Gates.

“It is my constitutional obligation to support free and fair elections and an appointment this close to the election would have caused me to fail that responsibility,” said Governor Green. “I have conferred with the Attorney General and have decided that my intent is to name the appointee who wins the Democratic Primary for Senate District 22 shortly after the election results are certified.”

State law generally provides that the Governor shall appoint a senator from a list of three individuals within 60 days of the senate seat becoming vacant. The law could not have contemplated the timing of this particular 60-day time frame, a mere 11 days prior to the August 10 primary election, or that all three individuals named to fill this vacancy all would be candidates for the election. 

“I do not believe that the Legislature intended to require the Governor to select a senator within a specified time frame when doing so would place the full weight of the Governor’s office on the scales in favor of one candidate over the others,” Governor Green said.

The Hawai‘i Constitution starts with this foundational provision:

All political power of this state is inherent in the people and the responsibility for the exercise thereof rests with the people. All government is founded on this authority.

~ Hawai‘i State Constitution Article I, Bill of Rights

Governor Green believes his decision to wait, respects the will of the people who will elect their preferred appointee without any prior decision of his having influenced the outcome.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

  *   *   *   *   *

TO: The Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi President of the Senate Thirty-Second State Legislature State Capitol, Room 409 Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

DATE: July 9, 2024

SUBJECT: Appointment for Democratic Vacancy to Senate District 22

Dear President Kouchi:

In the event of a vacancy for a seat in the State Senate, Hawaii law requires that:

The governor shall make an appointment within sixty calendar days following the first day of vacancy to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term by selecting a person from a list of three prospective appointees submitted by the same political party as the prior incumbent.1

The Democratic Party of Hawaii has provided a list of three (3) names, two of whom are running for the twenty-second senatorial district seat, that is former Senator Shimabukuro’s seat.

While I understand that state law generally provides that the Governor shall appoint a state senator from a list of three potential individuals within sixty days of the senate seat becoming vacant, the law did not contemplate the unusual and extenuating circumstances concerning the Senate District 22 seat vacated by former Senator Maile Shimabukuro on May 31, 2024. Because of the unique timing and circumstances present here, I would be asked to select from a list of three individuals, all of whom are candidates in the August 10 primary election, a mere 11 days before the primary.  I do not believe that the Legislature intended to require the Governor to select a senator within a specified timeframe when doing so would place the full weight of the Governor’s office on the scales in favor of one candidate over the others.

The State Constitution starts with this foundational provision:

All political power of this State is inherent in the people and the responsibility for the exercise thereof rests with the people. All government is founded on this authority.2 (emphasis added)

In a healthy democracy, respecting the will of the voters is paramount, and I firmly believe that democracy will best be served by my allowing the voters to select the candidate of their choice, and by my respecting their decision.

Essentially, it is my constitutional obligation to support free and fair elections, and an appointment this close to the election would have me fail that responsibility. I have conferred with the Attorney General, and I have decided that my intent is to name the appointee who wins the Democratic Primary for Senate District 22 shortly after the election results are certified.

I am torn between these authorities in exercising my duties as Governor. However, I am comfortable that my decision to wait respects the will of the people who will elect a preferred appointee without my prior official decision having influenced the outcome.

Mahalo,

Josh Green, M.D. Governor, State of Hawaii

cc: The Honorable Scott K. Saiki, Speaker of the House of Representatives The Honorable Cedric Gates, State Representative, District 45 Ms. Stacelynn Kehaulani Marie Eli Mr. Croccifixio Makani Crabbe Mr. Derek Turbin, Party Chair, Democratic Party of Hawaii

1 Haw. Rev. Stat. §17-3(a)(1)..

2 Haw. State Const. Art. I, Section 1. 

  *   *   *   *   * 

SENATE PRESIDENT RONALD D. KOUCHI ISSUES STATEMENT REGARDING GOVERNOR JOSH GREEN'S LETTER REGARDING THE VACANT SENATE DISTRICT 22 SEAT

News Release from Office of Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi, July 9, 2024 

Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (District 8 - Kaua'i, Ni'ihau) issued the following statement regarding Governor Josh Green's July 9, 2024, letter regarding the vacant Senate District 22 seat:

"After reading Governor Green's July 9, 2024 letter, I do not agree that he does not have to fill the vacant Senate District 22 seat pursuant to HRS section 17(3)(1).

Contrary to Governor Green's assertion that "state law generally provides" for the governor to fill a senate vacancy, HRS section 17(3)(1) clearly and unambiguously states that "the governor shall" fill a senate vacancy within sixty calendar days from the start of the vacancy.

Governor Green states that he does not have to comply with state law because he does "not believe that the Legislature intended to require the Governor to select a senator within a specified timeframe when doing so would place the full weight of the Governor's office on the scales in favor of one candidate over the others."  Governor Green counterbalances his refusal to follow HRS section 17(3)(1) with Article I, Section 1 of the Hawai'i State Constitution citing that the "political power of this State is inherent in the people and the responsibility for the exercise thereof rests with the people."

The language in HRS 17(3)(1) is clear that the Legislature intended that the party of the vacating senator would have a say in providing three names to the governor to replace an outgoing senator.  Senator Shimabukuro's last day in the Senate was May 31, 2024 and I am informed that the Hawai'i Democratic Party sent three names to Governor Green on June 7, 2024 – more than one month ago.  By not filling the vacant Senate District 22 seat until after the primary elections on August 10, 2024 from names provided by the Democratic party, Governor Green is taking away the "political power" from the people of Senate District 22 and depriving them from having a Senator from the Democratic party for over two months.

Governor Green states that he "conferred with the Attorney General," not that he is acting upon the "legal advice of" the Attorney General and it is his "constitutional obligation to support free and fair elections" that is the driving force behind refusing to adhere to state law.

Governor Green's "constitutional obligation" is to comply with all state laws.

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SA: Green balks at acting to replace state senator -- Derek Turbin, chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, said he supports the decision by Green.

CB: Green Won’t Appoint Leeward Coast Senator Before Primary Election -- Shimabukuro has long been an ally of Kouchi as part of what was once known as the Opihi Faction, the Senate’s dominant group that helped push Kouchi into the presidency in 2015.  Factional lines in the Senate have blurred since then, but Gates is seen as someone who would support the current leadership structure.

1997: Sen James Aki busted for gambling 

1998: Hanabusa elected.  www.TheRealHanabusa.com 

2010: Abercrombie names Shimabukuro and Solomon to State Senate, doesn’t mention meth

2024: Long Lines Suppress Republican Votes on Election Day:  City Clerk Plans to do it Again in 2024

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