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Lingle fills two state Senate seats

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Gov. Linda Lingle has filled two vacancies in the state Senate created by the resignations of state Sen. Robert Bunda and state Senate Majority Leader Gary Hooser, who are running in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.

Lingle selected Laura Figueira, a former aide to Bunda, to replace Bunda in Senate District 22 in Wahiawa and the North Shore. The governor named Ronald Kouchi, a former Kauai County councilman, to replace Hooser in Senate District 7 in Kauai and Niihau.

Figueira and Kouchi will serve until November, when voters will elect replacements to fill out the remaining two years of Bunda’s and Hooser’s four-year terms. Kouchi is one of the candidates running for the Kauai seat.

Lingle made the appointments from recommendations from the Democratic Party of Hawaii. State law requires the governor to fill House and Senate vacancies from recommendations from the political party that held the seat, in this case the Democrats.

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