News

Ige Fills Vacant Big Island Senate Seat

January 19, 2021, 2:10 PM HST
* Updated January 19, 3:31 PM
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Laura Acasio

Governor David Ige on Tuesday officially appointed Laura Acasio to the Hawai‘i State Senate.

Acasio will replace current US Representative Kai Kahele as state senator for the Big Island’s 1st District. Kahele in November won election to one of the state’s two congressional seats in the House, which was vacated by former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard in 2020.

As the senator representing Hawai‘i’s 1st District and holding with tradition, Acasio will have the distinct honor of holding the chamber’s gavel to convene the 2021 legislative session on Wednesday, Jan. 20 — her very first day in office.

“We’re looking forward to great contributions from her,” said Senate President Ron Kouchi.

Acasio is an executive board member with Ka ‘Umeke Ka‘eo Public Charter School and has served her community widely. Her work includes serving as a restoration volunteer for the Hilo Women’s Prison, restoration steward with Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana, co-founder of the Hilo Boys and Girls Club Community, teen mentor and facilitator with the Nature Conservancy, and member of the Surfrider Foundation.

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An active member of the Hawai‘i Democratic Party, Acasio has also served in a variety of leadership roles with that organization.

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The governor chose from a list of three candidates that also included Christopher Toshiro Todd, a current representative for Hilo’s 2nd District, and Maureen Namaka Rawlins, an educator and Native Hawaiian activist.

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