Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui will resign on Wednesday, setting off a possible shuffle to take his place in one of the top political jobs in the state.
Tsutsui said he is returning to Maui and opted to resign now because a private sector job opened up with the Hawaii branch of the communications and government relations firm of Strategies 360.
State law dictates that the lieutenant governor’s post now passes to state Senate President Ron Kouchi, but Kouchi announced he will not accept the job.
“With regard to the soon to be vacant office of the lieutenant governor, I am not interested in becoming the next lieutenant governor of the state of Hawaii,” Kouchi said in a written statement.
The job would next be offered to House Speaker Scott Saiki, who declined to comment of the matter this afternoon. If Saiki declines the job, it would then be offered to state Attorney General Doug Chin, who is running for U.S. Congress.
If all of those political figures were to decline the job, it would be offered to the state director of finance, and then to other cabinet members.
While the lieutenant governor’s position carries little authority or responsibility, it has been a critical stepping stone for well-known politicians including former Govs. George Ariyoshi, John Waihee and Ben Cayetano, and U.S. Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz.
Tsutsui had previously announced he would not run for re-election, and planned to return to Maui to spend more time with his family.