Senate President Shan Tsutsui has accepted the position of lieutenant governor Thursday, a day after the seat was vacated by Brian Schatz who was appointed to the U.S. Senate after the death of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.
"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 Lt. 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 underway to establish an additional Office of the Lt. Governor on Maui, expanding the office’s reach and accessibility to all island communities. 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," 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, 41, represented Senate District 5, which serves Wailuku, Waihee and Kahului on Maui.
Tsutsui was Hawaii's 12th Senate President. He was the first Senate President from Maui as well as the youngest.
The new lieutenant governor was elected to the Senate in 2002. His previous leadership positions included the Vice Chair of Ways and Means and Majority Caucus Leader.
Tsutsui is a business consultant for Atlas Insurance Agency, Inc.
Senate Vice President Donna Mercado Kim says the members of the Senate will meet in the next few days to discuss who will fill the Senate President's position.