Maui News

Tsutsui Appointment Expands Neighbor Island Reach

December 28, 2012, 7:21 AM HST
* Updated December 28, 9:20 AM
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Photo courtesy Office of the Governor, State of Hawai’i.

By Wendy Osher

Former state Senate president Shan S. Tsutsui officially accepted the position of lieutenant governor of Hawaii on Thursday afternoon.

The appointment became effective immediately under the order of succession.

The office was vacated on Wednesday by the appointment of former lt. gov. Brian Schatz to the US Senate.

“Shan’s acceptance reflects this administration’s commitment to represent all the people of Hawaii as a statewide community, not one that is Oahu-centric,” said Gov. Abercrombie upon making the appointment. “As demonstrated during his time in the Legislature and most recently as senate president, Shan is extremely effective in bringing various parties together to benefit all the people of Hawaii.”

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In accepting the new role, Lt. Governor Tsutsui said, “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 lieutenant 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.”

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During the announcement, the governor stated that plans are also underway to establish an additional Office of the Lt. Governor on Maui, expanding the office’s reach and accessibility to all island communities; however, the Office of the Lt. Governor will continue to conduct business in the State Capitol in Honolulu.

“In the past, neighbor island elected officials might have thought they had to move to Honolulu in order to serve,” said Gov. Abercrombie during the afternoon press conference. “In my view, this may no longer be necessary, especially as technology brings us closer together and the state’s IT transformation plan affords greater opportunities to conduct state business from all islands.”

Tsutsui was elected to the Senate’s 4th district in 2002, and was the 12th senate president of Hawaii. He is notably the first senate president from Maui as well as the youngest. Previous leadership positions included the vice chair of Ways and Means and majority caucus leader.

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Tsutsui is a 1989 graduate of Maui High School, and earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Hawaii in 1994.

He and his wife, Lyndelle Lee Tsutsui, have three daughters, Mikayla, Kaylee and Kenna. All flew to Honolulu and were present during the announcement on O’ahu yesterday.

***Supporting information courtesy Office of the Governor, State of Hawai’i.

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