Office of the Governor – News Release – Gov. Green Announces Senate Vacancy Decision

Posted on Jul 9, 2024 in Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases








July 9, 2024

HONOLULU — Governor Josh Green, M.D., announced that the people of Senate District 22 (Ko ‘Olina, Nānākuli, Mā‘ili, Wai‘anae, Mākaha, Mākua) will decide who fills the seat vacated by former Sen. Maile Shimabukuro as of May 31, 2024. Governor Green formally transmitted a letter to Senate President Ron Kouchi today, to that effect.

The three individuals whose names were sent to the Governor are running for an open seat in that area; two are in active primaries for Senate District 22, Stacelynn Eli and Cedric Gates.

“It is my constitutional obligation to support free and fair elections and an appointment this close to the election would have caused me to fail that responsibility,” said Governor Green. “I have conferred with the Attorney General and have decided that my intent is to name the appointee who wins the Democratic Primary for Senate District 22 shortly after the election results are certified.”

State law generally provides that the Governor shall appoint a senator from a list of three individuals within 60 days of the senate seat becoming vacant. The law could not have contemplated the timing of this particular 60-day time frame, a mere 11 days prior to the August 10 primary election, or that all three individuals named to fill this vacancy all would be candidates for the election. 

“I do not believe that the Legislature intended to require the Governor to select a senator within a specified time frame when doing so would place the full weight of the Governor’s office on the scales in favor of one candidate over the others,” Governor Green said.

The Hawai‘i Constitution starts with this foundational provision:

All political power of this state is inherent in the people and the responsibility for the exercise thereof rests with the people. All government is founded on this authority.

~ Hawai‘i State Constitution Article I, Bill of Rights

Governor Green believes his decision to wait, respects the will of the people who will elect their preferred appointee without any prior decision of his having influenced the outcome.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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Media Contacts:    

Erika Engle
Press Secretary
Office of the Governor, State of Hawai‘i
Office: 808-586-0120
Email: [email protected] 

Makana McClellan
Director of Communications
Office of the Governor, State of Hawaiʻi
Cell: 808-265-0083
Email: [email protected] 

Dave Day
Special Assistant to the Attorney General
Email: [email protected]

Toni Schwartz
Public Information Officer
Hawai‘i Department of the Attorney General
Office: 808-586-1252
Cell: 808-379-9249
Email: [email protected]