HONOLULU – Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Thursday that former State Senate President Shan S. Tsutsui has accepted the position of lieutenant governor, effective immediately under the order of succession.
The office was vacated Wednesday by the appointment of former Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz to the U.S. Senate, succeeding the late Sen. Daniel Inouye. Schatz flew to Washington, D.C. on Air Force One with President Obama and was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden.
“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 Abercrombie. “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.”
“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,” Tsutsui said. “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.”
Plans are under way to establish an additional Office of the Lieutenant Governor on Maui, expanding the office’s reach and accessibility to all island communities. The Office of the Lieutenant 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,” Abercrombie said. “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 served as the 12th Senate president of Hawaii. He is the first Senate president from Maui as well as the youngest. Elected to the Senate in 2002 to represent Hawaii’s 5th Senatorial District, central Maui (then the 4th Senatorial District), his previous leadership positions included the vice chair of Ways and Means and Majority Caucus leader.
Tsutsui graduated from Maui High School in 1989 and earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Hawaii in 1994. He and his wife, Lyndelle Lee Tsutsui, reside on Maui with their three daughters, Mikayla, Kaylee and Kenna.