WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Tuesday appointed Troy Hashimoto to fill a state House seat vacated by former Speaker Joe Souki, who resigned last month after acknowledging he sexually harassed women.
Hashimoto has been executive assistant to Maui County Council Chairman Mike White for seven years. He served as chairman of the Maui County Democratic Party from 2013 to 2017.
In line with state law, Ige selected Hashimoto from a list of three names provided by the Democratic Party of Maui.
In a statement, Hashimoto noted there is not much time left in the legislative session, which ends May 3. He said his top priority will be to ensure his district's needs are represented and that important projects are secured in the budget.
Hashimoto, 30, said he planned to run for the seat in the primary election on Aug. 11.
Hashimoto told The Associated Press he wants to enter the race because lawmakers need to be in place for "a little bit of time" to invest in their communities and make a difference.
Souki had served in the House since 1982, representing Wailuku, Waiehu and Waihee. He served twice as speaker of the House.
The 86-year-old agreed last month to resign, pay a fine and publicly apologize under a settlement agreement with the Hawaii State Ethics Commission. Former state Director of Human Services Rachael Wong accused him of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct.
Maui Democrats nominated Hashimoto along with two others: former Maui County Council Member Dain Kane and attorney Joe Wildman.
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.