POSTED: 3:30 p.m. HST, Jan 11, 2011
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie is appointing his East Hawaii campaign chairman, Gil Kahele, to the state Senate.
Abercrombie on Tuesday chose Kahele, a 68-year-old Democrat, to represent Hilo and Naalehu to fill the vacancy left by Russell Kokubun, who Abercrombie appointed to lead the Department of Agriculture.
Kahele is a former chairman of the Hawaii County Police Commission, a former Marine and a retired employee of the Department of Defense.
Abercrombie says Kahele is a respected community leader who understands issues on both the Big Island and statewide.
Abercrombie chose Kahele from a list of three finalists submitted by the Hawaii County Democratic Party. Other candidates included businessman Russell Ruderman and database administrator Anthony Marz.