Hawaii Democratic Party Chairwoman Kealii Lopez is resigning effective Friday to take a position with the Hawaii state office of AARP, which advocates on behalf of senior citizens and retirees.
In a letter distributed to party members this afternoon, Lopez said her new job as AARP executive director has historically been a non-partisan position, which means she must resign from her post as head of the state party.
“In my time as your chair, it has been my great privilege to work with Democrats who are passionate and fearless advocates of the most pressing social and economic issues of our time,” Lopez wrote in her resignation letter. “It has been an honor to stand shoulder to shoulder with all of you as we worked to elect Democrats, fight to raise the minimum wage and move closer for equality for all.”
The Democrats’ state central committee will hold a meeting Saturday at 10 a.m. at the party headquarters at 627 South St. to elect an interim party chairman or chairwoman, according to a memo circulated to party members. Candidates for the office are required to submit a candidate nomination form, according to the memo.
Lopez, 58, is a longtime party activist and a professional lobbyist who served as director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs under former Gov. Neil Abercrombie. She was elected to a two-year term as party chair in May 2018.
She is registered as a lobbyist this year for the online travel and booking company Expedia Inc., the Hawaii Captive Insurance Council and the Western Plant Health Association, according to records on file with the Hawaii State Ethics Commission.