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Green to pick replacements for state House seats from Oʻahu, Kauaʻi

Former state Reps. James Tokioka and Ryan Yamane
Former state Reps. James Tokioka and Ryan Yamane

Gov. Josh Green selected two sitting state representatives for deputy director positions in two state departments. The move set off a chain reaction.

"From the time of the vacancy, there's a total of 60 days for the seats to be filled. The first 30 days, the party has up to 30 days to submit three names to the governor. And then the governor has the remaining time, up to 60 days, to make the appointments," explained House Speaker Scott Saiki.

House District 37 Rep. Ryan Yamane of Central Oʻahu was tapped as the deputy director for the state Department of Human Resources Development.

Mililani Democrats nominated Trish La Chica, former state Rep. Charlotte Nekota and former Honolulu City Councilmember Ron Menor, who died last week. Green said he's looking for somebody with a lot of heart.

"I served with Ron, he was a good-hearted person. So he met that criteria. He's now someone not available to us. So all three people were great there. And there's, I think, three very thoughtful people that have come out of Kauaʻi as recommended," he said.

Green also tapped former Kauaʻi Rep. James "Jimmy" Tokioka as deputy director for the state Department of Transportation's Airports Division.

Līhuʻe Democrats nominated former councilmember Mason Chock, sitting Councilmember Luke Evslin, and nonprofit director Nikki Cristobal for the District 16 spot.

"I always look at people who are very caring. That's, you know, the most important thing for me caring in their community. I also like people that are kind of on the ground," Green told HPR.

Green said he will likely make his decision before the end of the month, though he has until March to choose.

Sabrina Bodon was Hawaiʻi Public Radio's government reporter.
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