Maui News

Senate committee rejects nomination of DBEDT director

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A senate committee on Thursday voted to reject the nomination of Chris Sadayasu as director of the State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism. 

The committee on Energy, Economic Development, and Tourism voted 4-1 against the nomination, or to recommend that the Senate not advise and consent to the nomination.

Despite the committee’s recommendation against consent, Sadayasu’s nomination will move forward for a vote and final consideration by the full 25-member Senate.

The vote was 4-1, with Senators Lynn DeCoite, Glenn Wakai, Donna Mercado Kim, and Kurt Fevella voting in favor of the recommendation to not advise and consent. Senator Carol Fukunaga was the lone vote in opposition of the recommendation.  


The hearing included testimony from Governor Josh Green, Chief Housing Officer Nani Medeiros, and numerous state agencies.  

“Although I believe Chris is a decent person, his performances during several Senate committee hearings have left me with doubts about his ability to effectively lead this department,” said Senator Lynn DeCoite, chair of the EET committee. “Due to the lack of confidence I felt in his potential to effectively manage and collaborate with the agencies that would fall under his direction, I could not support or recommend that we move forward with this nomination.” 

Chris Sadayasu was born and raised on the island of Hawaiʻi. He is a graduate of Hilo High School, Claremont McKenna College, and the William S. Richardson School of Law.


Sadayasu currently serves as the DBEDT director where he leads efforts to support the growth, diversification, and resiliency of Hawaiʻi’s economy.

Sadayasu has more than 17 years of experience as an expert in economic development in DBEDT’s various attached agencies including the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority, and Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corporation.

He has also held positions at the Aloha Tower Development Corporation and City and County of Honolulu’s Office of Strategic Development. Sadayasu most recently served as the Charities Program Administrator with the Department of the Attorney General.


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