East Hawaii News

Coffman Resigning From State House of Representatives

December 9, 2013, 12:34 PM HST
* Updated January 10, 11:25 AM
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Denny Coffman will resign his seat in the state House of Representatives, House spokesman William Nhieu said this morning.

Coffman told legislative leaders he is resigning because he needs to spend time with his family because his daughter is facing a medical issue, Nhieu said.

The resignation take effect Dec. 20.

Coffman was first elected in 2008 to represent the 5th House District, which extends from Naalehu in Ka`u through South Kona to Kailua-Kona in North Kona.

He is a member of the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection, which he previously chaired, and of committees on Judiciary; Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs; and Water & Land.

Prior to his election to office, Coffman served in the US Army, was a successful small business owner, computer programmer and system analyst and an administrator in the information technologies industry.

“I am extremely honored to have been elected by the people of Hawaii Island and to serve three terms in the Legislature,” Coffman said in a statement. “It is with a heavy heart that I made this decision but as a father and grandfather, I am firmly committed to my family and will be there for my daughters and grandchildren in their time of need.

“I leave knowing that I have represented the communities of Hawaii Island and the State to the best of my ability,” he said.

House Speaker Joe Souki described Coffman as a “positive proponent of environmental progress.”

“I am honored to have been able to call Denny a colleague and I, along with the members of the House, offer our sincere sympathies and wish him and his family the best,” Souki said. “He will surely be missed.”

Gov. Neil Abercrombie issued a statement lauding Coffman’s efforts on alternate energy.

“Denny served our country and state with great honor and strength of purpose,” Abercrombie said. “He represented the people of Hawaii Island well and helped set the state on a viable path to a responsible and economically sustainable energy policy, which will benefit generations to come.

“While I was saddened to hear of his decision to step down as a member of the House, I recognize, as does anyone who knows him, that as a father and grandfather, matters of the family take precedence.,” he said. “The people of Hawaii are thankful for his service and leadership, and we offer our deepest aloha to his family.”

According to state law, Abercrombie has 60 days from Coffman’s resignation to appoint a replacement to serve out Coffman’s remaining term, which ends following the 2014 general election.

The appointment will come from a list of three candidates selected by the Democratic Party. It has 30 days to submit the names of candidates who must have been members of the party for at least six months prior to the appointment.

Coffman’s successor must also be a resident of the 5th House District at the time of the appointment.

Coffman easily won re-election in 2012.

In the 2012 Democratic primary election, Coffman easily turned back a challenge from Leolani Oyama by taking 56% of the vote to Oyama’s 26%.

He defeated Republican Dave Bateman in the general election by roughly the same margin, with 63% of the vote to Bateman’s 30%.

***Updated at 12:47 p.m., 1:52 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.***

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