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State Senate Democrats select Maui’s Tsutsui to replace Hanabusa as president

State Sen. Shan Tsutsui of Maui will be the new Senate president and Sen. Donna Mercado Kim is the Senate vice president after Senate Democrats agreed on a reorganization plan last night.

Tsutsui, who was elected to the Senate in 2002, replaces state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who is resigning to go to Congress.

“We’re looking forward to working with the new administration to make good things happen,” Tsutsui said.

State Sen. David Ige will be the new chairman of the powerful Senate Ways and Means Committee. State Sen. Clayton Hee will chair the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee. State Sen. Rosalyn Baker will lead the Senate Consumer Protection Committee.

Tsutsui said other committee assignments are expected to be announced today.

Earlier this week, state Senate Vice President Russell Kokubun of the Big Island appeared to be the favorite to replace Hanabusa.

Democrats control the Senate with a 24-to-1 majority. Democrats have aligned themselves in competing factions and have formed leadership coalitions, usually by splitting the presidency and the Ways and Means Committee between factions.


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