Lt. Gov. Schatz Appointed to Fill Inouye’s US Senate Vacancy
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by Wendy Osher
Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz was selected today to fill the US Senate vacancy created by the recent passing of US Senator Daniel Inouye.
The announcement was made by Gov. Neil Abercrombie during a press conference this afternoon.
Schatz was among 14 people who had applied for the vacancy, and one of three finalists considered by the governor. Other finalists selected by the Hawaii Democratic Party’s state central committee included US Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, and Hawaii Land and Natural Resources Deputy Director Esther Kiaaina.
The next in line to fill the now-vacant lieutenant governor’s position is the state’s Senate president, Sen. Shan Tsutsui of Maui. The law states that Tsutsui must make his decision on whether to fill the post “promptly,” according to Abercrombie.
Schatz was inaugurated to his current post on Dec. 6, 2010. In addition to his responsibilities as deputy to Abercrombie, Schatz is also currently tasked with helping to lead the state’s clean energy efforts and Asia-Pacific relations.
Schatz is credited with launching the Hawai’i Fair Share Initiative, which seeks more private and public investment in Hawai’i.
Before being elected lieutenant governor, he served for eight years as the CEO of Helping Hands Hawai’i, one of Hawaii’s largest non-profit community social services organizations.
From 1998 to 2006, Schatz served as a member of the state House of Representatives for the 25th district. While in the state House, Schatz served as the House majority whip, chair of the Economic Development Committee, vice-chair of Water, Land and Ocean Resources, vice-chair of Consumer Protection and Commerce, and as a member of the Hawaiian Affairs, Higher Education, Energy and Environmental Protection, and Agriculture committees.
Schatz was raised in Hawai’i, and graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.