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Souki ousts House Speaker Say with the help of Republicans

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 12:48 p.m. HST, Nov 21, 2012

State Rep. Joseph Souki and a dissident faction of Democrats have the support of House Republicans in a reorganization that will oust House Speaker Calvin Say, it was announced today.

Souki said the move was made “to avoid months of political posturing and delay that held up the legislative work after the 2010 election."

The announcement was made by Souki and House Minority Leader Aaron Ling Johanson.

“There’s much work to do before the Legislature begins and we could delay no longer,” Johanson said. “We decided to put politics aside and came together to start working on the next challenges facing all of Hawaii.”

Souki said, “We’re happy to have reached this agreement. This will allow us to focus our attention on the issues and begin preparation for the 2013 session.”

For Souki, the move is a return to the speaker's position after being toppled by Say 13 years ago.

Say, 60, is the longest-serving speaker since statehood.

Souki confirmed that he had 28 votes, two more than he needed, to become speaker. Those votes include seven Republicans.

In exchange for their support, Republicans would be named vice-chairmen on 3 key committees — House Finance, Energy and Economic Development, he said.

He added that he did not see Rep. Marcus Oshiro as remaining chairman of the House Finance Committee.

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