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Shan Tsutsui to Resign as Lieutenant Governor

January 29, 2018, 10:37 AM HST · Updated March 28, 6:27 AM
Nikki Schenfeld · 1 Comment
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Shan S. Tsutsui announces his resignation as Lieutenant Governor, effective January 31, 2018. Photo Courtesy

Shan S. Tsutsui announces his resignation as Lieutenant Governor, effective Jan. 31, 2018. He will be returning to Maui and will be joining Strategies 360, a public affairs, strategic communications and research firm with offices in Hawaii, 11 other Western states and Washington D.C as a Senior Vice-President.

His statement follows:

“With a grateful, yet heavy heart I am announcing today that I will be resigning as the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawaiʻi, effective January 31, 2018. Over the past 15 years, it has been my honor and privilege to have served the people of Hawaiʻi, first as a State Senator from Maui and Senate President, and currently as your Lieutenant Governor. Throughout that time, I have always been mindful of the tremendous responsibility that comes with public office. I have greatly appreciated the trust and confidence that was bestowed upon me and have done my best to build a better Hawaiʻi through collaboration and hard work, while honoring our shared core values of honesty, integrity and respect.

As Senate President, I was fortunate to draw upon my many years in the Senate and the relationships that I had established to exhibit a collaborative style of leadership, and I did my best to ensure that all Senators were respected and heard. As your Lieutenant Governor, I have continued to work cooperatively with leaders in the public and private sectors, as well as members of the public, with that same level of respect and attention. During this time, I am proud to have established the Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture and Health (R.E.A.C.H.) initiative to support after-school programs for middle and intermediate public school students. As a father, I was especially concerned with ensuring that middle school students engage in positive activities and relationships during hours when many are left unsupervised because their parents are working. Since 2013, R.E.A.C.H. has invested approximately $2.75M in more than 40 public middle and intermediate schools, including charter schools, statewide, reaching thousands of students. Funds have helped to provide robotics programs; hula, ukulele, music and other dance lessons; basketball, soccer, wrestling and other sports; cooking, fishing, art, and hydroponics; and many other clubs and programs. Participating students have shown improved attendance, attitude, behavior and even grades.

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Additionally, I was excited to have taken the reigns of the Farm to School Initiative, which we have developed into the “‘Aina Pono: Hawai‘i’s Farm to Cafeteria Initiative,” to increase the purchase and consumption of local food in our school cafeterias. With an enthusiastic team of advisors and ‘doers,’ along with support from the Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, private partners such as The Kohala Center, and many other generous donors, a burgeoning pilot project was launched to infuse local foods and flavors into our school menus, while providing healthier options for our keiki. As the project continues to grow and expand throughout the State, the effects will have a lasting impact on our keiki, the agriculture industry, and the state’s procurement processes.

Throughout my time in office, it has been an absolute pleasure to have had the opportunity to meet so many talented and inspiring individuals. I have witnessed firsthand the many hardworking families who fight traffic in their daily commutes, while holding down multiple jobs to provide a better life for their keiki; the bright, dedicated students who not only excel in Hawaiʻi but can also compete with their counterparts nationally; and the small businesses and farms using innovative and entrepreneurial ideas to revitalize family businesses. You have all inspired me and helped to make me a better person and leader. I will cherish these experiences and lessons and carry them with me throughout my life.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the people of Hawaiʻi for the opportunity to have served you all these years. Truly, I have been blessed with the support of so many individuals, family and friends. I especially thank my incredible family—my wife, children, parents and extended ohana for their tremendous love, support and many sacrifices over the years. I would like to thank Governor Ige for the privilege of serving in his Administration. To Neil and Nancy, Lyndelle and I thank you for your friendship and kindness and the love you have shared with our daughters. I also send my aloha to my former colleagues in the Legislature and the tens of thousands of public employees throughout the State for their hard work and dedication to the people of Hawaiʻi. Finally, a big mahalo to my staff and security for your unwavering devotion and enduring commitment to the office and to helping me best serve the people of the State. Your hard work did not go unnoticed, and I will be forever grateful to each of you.

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In his remarks commemorating the 75th Pearl Harbor anniversary, President Barack Obama noted, ‘we cannot choose the history that we inherit. But we can choose what lessons to draw from it, and use those lessons to chart our own futures.’ Accordingly, it’s my hope that we will continue to acknowledge the rich history of our State, and remain grateful for the contributions and sacrifices of generations past; that we will explore new ways to invest in our residents, businesses, and communities to make them more sustainable, competitive, and economically robust. And as I leave public service, I look forward to continuing to be a part of Hawaiʻi’s future and helping to forge a new path that honors our shared beliefs and my continued commitment to improving the lives of the people of Hawaiʻi.”

Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi released the following statement on receiving the news that Shan Tsutsui will resign as Lieutenant Governor effective Jan. 31, 2018:

“While it was known that Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui would not be seeking re-election to his current office, being informed that the effective date of his resignation is in two days leaves me with mixed emotions. While I am personally happy that Shan is able to spend more time with his family, who has sacrificed in order for Shan to serve Maui, the State Senate, and the State of Hawai‘i, I am professionally saddened because Shan’s resignation leaves a gaping hole in our current political fabric.

With regard to the soon to be vacant Office of the Lieutenant Governor, I am not interested in becoming the next Lieutenant Governor of the State of Hawai‘i.”

Nikki Schenfeld
Nikki joined the Maui Now team in 2016 as a writer/reporter. Originally from Chicago, she has had internships with CBS2 Chicago and Comcast SportsNet Chicago where she had the opportunity to interview some of Chicago's best athletes. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2010 with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism. She moved to Maui in 2013.
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