With chairmanships and leadership assigned, how did the House dissidents make out?

Travis Quezon

HONOLULU—With the race for Speaker officially over and House business already piling up, Speaker Calvin Say announced the House leadership team and the Committee chairmanships for the 26th Legislature. Most fared well.

On Opening Day of the Legislative Session this Wednesday, House members called for reconciliation between the 18 dissident House Democrats who had supported Rep. Roy Takumi’s bid for Speaker and those who had been in support of Say.

The Speaker had previously said he would quell tensions by fairly assigning leadership and chairmanships.

In the assignments for the 26th Legislature, overall, House dissidents who previously were a chair or vice chair either retained chairmanships they had held in the previous Legislature, were assigned a different chairmanship, or were given chairmanship for the first time.

The exception is Rep. Mele Carroll, who had been the chair of the Committee on Hawaiian Affairs in the 25th Legislature, during the heated debate over the sale of Hawaii’s “ceded lands.” Carroll does not have a chairmanship in the 26th Legislature.

In December, freshman Rep. Linda Ichiyama was a late addition to the number of Democrats in support of Say. Ichiyama is the new vice chair of the Committee on Transportation. The position was formerly held by Say supporter Rep. Karen Awana, who is now the chair of the Committee on International Affairs.

In January, House Republicans committed their eight votes to keep Say as Speaker—ending a numbers stalemate between Say’s supporters and dissident Democrats.

The State House Minority Leader, Rep. Gene Ward, said in a statement earlier this month that Say’s return as Speaker “was the best choice to ensure the State’s long-term fiscal condition improves.”

House Republicans offered their votes based on Say’s commitment to not raise the General Excise Tax. No Republicans were given chair or vice chair positions in the 26th Legislature.

Are tensions between dissident Democrats and House leadership finally quelled? Not likely. But with a new governor a and a budget crisis on top of everything else facing ‘the ledge’ this session, the people of Hawaii will be looking to lawmakers to put politics aside and take care of business. This session, The Hawaii Independent will be following the trials and tribulations at the State Capitol more than ever and reporting back.

What legislation is key for you this session? Please let us know at [email protected]


Here’s what happened to the 18 dissident House Democrats:

Rep. Della Au Belatti received vice chair positions on the Committee on Culture and the Arts and the Committee on Education.

Rep. Tom Brower was assigned as chair of the Committee on Tourism. Brower had previously been the vice chair of the Committee on Human Services in the 25th Legislature.

Rep. Mele Carroll lost her position as chair of the Committee on Hawaiian Affairs and is now one of five Majority Whips.

Rep. Denny Coffman retained his position as vice chair of the Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection.

Rep. Cindy Evans retained her position as Majority Floor Leader.

Rep. Faye Hanohano is the new chair of the Committee on Hawaiian Affairs. Hanohano had previously been the chair of the Committee on Public Safety in the 25th Legislature.

Rep. Gilbert Keith-Agaran is the new chair of the Committee on Judiciary. The position was previously held by former-Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor. Agaran joined the House in 2009.

Rep. Chris Lee is the new vice chair of the Committee on Hawaiian Affairs. The position was previously held by Sen. Maile Shimabukuro who was recently appointed to the Senate. Lee has not previously been a committee chair or vice chair.

Rep. Sylvia Luke is not in a leadership position or a chair or vice chair in the 26th Legislature. Luke did not hold a leadership position or chair or vice chair position in the 25th Legislature.

Freshman Rep. Dee Morikawa is the new vice chair of the Committee on Health.

Rep. Hermina Morita returns as chair of the Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection.

Rep. Mark Nakashima returns as vice chair of the Committee on Higher Education.

Rep. Scott Nishimoto is the new chair of the Committee on Higher Education, a position previously held by Say supporter Rep. Jerry Chang, who is the new chair of the Committee on Water, Land, and Natural Resources. Nishimoto was previously the vice chair of the Committee on Health in the 25th Legislature.

Rep. Scott Saiki is not in a leadership position or a chair or vice chair in the 26th Legislature. Saiki did not hold a leadership position or chair or vice chair position in the 25th Legislature.

Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, a dissident while in the House, was recently appointed to serve in the Senate. Shimabukuro was the previous vice chair on Hawaiian Affairs.

Rep. K. Mark Takai is not in a leadership position or a chair or vice chair in the 26th Legislature. Takai did not hold a leadership position or chair or vice chair position in the 25th Legislature.

Rep. Roy Takumi was Say’s primary opponent for the seat of House Speaker, the choice for leadership by dissident Democrats. Takumi retained his position as chair of the Committee on Education.

Rep. Jessica Wooley is chair of the newly created Committee on Culture and the Arts. Wooley did not hold a leadership position or chair or vice chair position in the 25th Legislature.



House Leadership Team
Dissident Democrats are italicized.

Speaker
Calvin K.Y. Say (District 20—St. Louis Heights, Palolo Valley, Maunalani Heights, Wilhelmina Rise, Kaimuki)

Vice Speaker
Joey Manahan (District 29—Sand Island, Mokauea, Kalihi Kai, Kapalama)

Majority Leader
Blake Oshiro (District 33—Aiea, Halawa Valley, Halawa Heights, Aiea Heights)

Majority Floor Leader
Cindy Evans (District 7—North Kona, South Kohala)

Majority Whips
Mele Carroll (District 13—Kahoolawe, Molokini, Lanai, Molokai, Keanae, Wailua, Nahiku, Hana)
Pono Chong (District 49—Maunawili, Olomana, Enchanted Lake, Kaneohe)
Ken Ito (District 48—Heeia, Haiku Valley, Kapunahala, Kaneohe)
John Mizuno (District 30—Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley, Fort Shafter)
James Kunane Tokioka (District 15—Wailua Homesteads, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Puhi, Portion of Old Koloa Town, Omau)


Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs

Agriculture
Chair: Clift Tsuji
Vice Chair: Mark Hashem

Consumer Protection and Commerce
Chair: Robert Herkes
Vice Chair: Ryan Yamane

Culture and the Arts
Chair: Jessica Wooley
Vice Chair: Della Au Belatti

Economic Revitalization and Business
Chair: Angus McKelvey
Vice Chair: Isaac Choy

Education
Chair: Roy Takumi
Vice Chair: Della Au Belatti

Energy and Environmental Protection
Chair: Hermina Morita
Vice Chair: Denny Coffman

Finance
Chair: Marcus Oshiro
Vice Chair: Marilyn Lee

Hawaiian Affairs
Chair: Faye Hanohano
Vice Chair: Chris Lee

Health
Chair: Ryan Yamane
Vice Chair: Dee Morikawa

Higher Education
Chair: Scott Nishimoto
Vice Chair: Mark Nakashima

Housing
Chair: Rida Cabanilla
Vice Chair: Pono Chong

Human Services
Chair: John Mizuno
Vice Chair: Jo Jordan

International Affairs
Chair: Karen Awana
Vice Chair: Mark Hashem

Judiciary
Chair: Gilbert Keith-Agaran
Vice Chair: Karl Rhoads

Labor and Public Employment
Chair: Karl Rhoads
Vice Chair: Kyle Yamashita

Legislative Management
Chair: Kyle Yamashita
Vice Chair: James Kunane Tokioka

Public Safety and Military Affairs
Chair: Henry Aquino
Vice Chair: Ty Cullen

Tourism
Chair: Tom Brower
Vice Chair: James Kunane Tokioka

Transportation
Chair: Joe Souki
Vice Chair: Linda Ichiyama

Water, Land, and Ocean Resources
Chair: Jerry Chang
Vice Chair: Sharon Har


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