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3 Maui men named as finalists to replace Joe Souki in Legislature

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CRAIG T. KOJIMA / ckojima@staradvertiser.com

Former Hawaii House Speaker Joe Souki, shown here last April at the state Legislature, stepped down in the aftermath of allegations of sexual harassment. Gov. David Ige will choose his replacement from three Maui men who were named as finalists.

Three finalists, including a former Maui County councilman and Maui Democratic Party chairman, have been named to replace longtime Wailuku lawmaker Joseph Souki, who resigned last month from the House of Representatives to resolve sexual harassment allegations.

A nominating committee selected Troy Hashimoto, who served as Maui County Democratic Party chairman; Dain Kane, who served four terms on the Maui County Council; and Joseph Wildman, an attorney with the Wailuku firm of Takitani, Agaran & Jorgensen, for the vacancy.

The names have been forwarded to Gov. David Ige to make an appointment.

Souki had served in the House since 1982, representing Wailuku, Waiehu and Waihee, and served twice as speaker of the House during his long political career.

Under a settlement agreement with the Hawaii State Ethics Commission, Souki, 86, agreed last month to resign, pay a fine and publicly apologize for his behavior after several women, including former state Director of Human Services Rachael Wong, accused him of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct.

Finalist Hashimoto is the executive assistant to Maui County Council Chairman Mike White.

Kane held the Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu seat on the Maui County Council for four consecutive terms until 2006. He has since run unsuccessfully for Maui mayor, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and his former council seat.

Wildman is a personal injury attorney. He had been appointed in 2011 by then-Gov. Neil Abercrombie to be a Maui Circuit Court judge, but withdrew his nomination over an “unresolved situation” involving federal tax liens stemming from unpaid payroll taxes.

Other applicants considered for the House seat were Avery Chumbley; Robert Hill III; Justin Hughey; Lynn Araki-Regan and Mary Wagner.

“The Maui County Democratic Party looks forward to working with the governor’s selection to help move our Democratic values forward at the state Legislature,” Maui County Democratic Party Chairman Timothy Lara said in a statement. “Gov. Ige has already stated that he wishes to move quickly so that the 8th District can once again have representation in the state House,” he said.

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