Governor urges quick action on replacing former legislator
WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige has instructed Democratic Party officials to move as quickly as possible to name possible candidates to fill the seat vacated by former state House Speaker Joe Souki.
The Democratic governor has asked the officials to submit three names to him by next week so he can appoint a new representative before the legislative session ends in May, The Maui News reported Friday.
The 86-year-old representative resigned last month following a Hawaii State Ethics Commission investigation in allegations that he sexually harassed multiple women by subjecting them to unwanted kissing, touching and sexual language.
Souki paid a $5,000 fine Monday and issued an apology letter. He has been barred from seeking public office for at least two years. Souki held the seat for more than three decades.
In an interview Thursday, Ige stressed the importance of Maui residents having a representative for Hawaii’s 8th House District, noting that “there are many important decisions that need to be made.”
“I don’t think it’s fair to the people of Wailuku and that district to say, ‘look, your representation does not count,’” Ige said.
After the list is submitted, Ige said he would interview the candidates and a decision should be made in a couple of days.
The governor has 60 days to make the appointment following the first day of the seat’s vacancy.
“Obviously, having experience would be helpful, but it is definitely not a prerequisite, a hard criteria,” Ige said. “I will just look and see who is on the list and who would most effectively represent the community.”
Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com