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Ige names attorney general, PUC chairman

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Doug Chin, left, and Randy Iwase.

Gov. David Ige on Friday announced Doug Chin, who served as managing director under former Mayor Peter Carlisle, as attorney general, rounding out his Cabinet after an exhaustive search.

Ige also announced the appointment of Randy Iwase, a former state lawmaker who lost to Republican Gov. Linda Lingle in her 2006 re-election bid, as chairman of the Public Utilities Commission, succeeding former Chairwoman Hermina Morita, who resigned earlier this week.

Both appointments are subject to confirmation by the state Senate.

Chin served for 12 years at the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s office and is leaving his post as managing partner at the Carlsmith Ball law firm, according to the governor’s office.

“It’s an honor for me to join the administration and serve as the attorney general,” Chin said in a news release from the governor’s office. “This is an opportunity to solve problems, and I welcome it.”

If confirmed, he will replace Russell Suzuki who has served on an interim basis after David Louie left the position in December at the end of former Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration.

Ige called Chin a man of integrity with the skills and experience to perform at the highest level.

“He is able to defend the state in court, facilitate and negotiate agreements, manage a large department and communicate well,” Ige said. “It’s rare to find someone who can do all those things.”

Chin earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Stanford University and added a law degree from the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law. 

As for Iwase’s appointment to head the PUC, the governor’s office said his “expertise in this arena stems from his years as the supervising deputy attorney general whose division provided legal counsel to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and the Public Utilities Commission.”

Iwase served as a state legislator, Honolulu City Councilmember, and as the chairman of the Hawaii State Tax Review Commission. 

“Randy Iwase’s extensive experience makes him the right person to lead the Public Utilities Commission during this time of transition and transformation,” Ige said. “He has tackled tough issues in the past and has a strong record of commitment to the public. I know he will hold the regulated industries accountable to the people of Hawaii.” 

Iwase earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and a law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law. 

“The state’s long-term success depends on the affordable and environmentally appropriate generation and distribution of energy,” Iwase said in the news release. “I’m eager to get to work.”

Iwase lost by 30 points in his attempt to unseat Lingle in 2006. Unable to attract funds against the formidable Lingle, he was outspent 10-to-1.

Ige’s office announced Monday that Morita was stepping down as chairwoman. She did not give a reason.

The only department without a permanent appointee is the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Ige’s office previously announced that Carty Chang, an engineer within the DLNR, would serve as acting director.

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