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Gov. Green appoints Trish La Chica and Luke Evslin to fill vacant House seats

Josh Green House of Representatives.jpg
Office of Gov. Josh Green
Trish La Chica in blue, front, and Luke Evslin on the television.

With about a third of the session underway, the state House of Representatives will finally be fully occupied by next Tuesday.

Gov. Josh Green has appointed two new representatives to fill vacancies, representing Mililani on Oʻahu and Līhuʻe on Kauaʻi.

Trish La Chica will fill the House District 37 seat that was formerly occupied by Rep. Ryan Yamane, who was selected by Green to serve as the deputy director of the state Department of Human Resources Development.

La Chica formerly served as the City and County of Honolulu executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Homelessness in 2022 and as the community government relations manager at AlohaCare. She's also been a member of the Mililani Neighborhood Board.

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Office of Gov. Josh Green
Trish La Chica, Gov. Josh Green's choice for one of the two vacant seats at the House, speaks on the initiatives she plans to tackle for the remainder of the session.

During a Wednesday press conference, La Chica said she'd like to focus on lowering the cost of living and transportation needs.

"We have an aging community Mililani that has experienced a lot of public safety and increased crime that have led our residents feel vulnerable," La Chica said. "But I am committed to not just earning the trust and support of our community, but really listening."

The governor also appointed Luke Evslin for House District 16, who will be stepping in for former Rep. Jimmy Tokioka. He was selected as the deputy director of the Airports Division for the state Department of Transportation.

Currently serving his third term as a Kauaʻi County Councilmember, Evslin has ushered in legislation focused on affordable housing, property taxes and wastewater systems.

"Just looking at the depth and breadth of policy that that they cover in a session, there's so much going on," Evslin said in an interview following the press conference.

"Whereas I love working on the county council, but for a lot of things, we're kind of nibbling around the edges of zoning reform and property tax because at the state level, there's just so much you can do."

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Office of Gov. Josh Green
Speaker Scott Saiki stands before the briefing room at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol on Feb. 16, 2023 after Gov. Josh Green announced the new appointees to the House of Representatives.

Because Evslin is a sitting member, the Kauaʻi County Council will now select and vote for a replacement.

Evslin said the County of Kauaʻi has a lot more work to do with property taxes and housing.

"We got to kind of straighten out our property tax code and make sure that we are rewarding owner-occupied homes as much as possible," Evslin said.

"There's a lot of work to be done regarding a new landfill that we're running out of room in our current landfill. And then, I'm also hopeful that the council and the mayor will continue to work to try and expand wastewater into existing residential areas on Kauaʻi."

House Speaker Scott Saiki of Oʻahu says they will be sworn in next Tuesday.

"I know that they want to serve their communities, they want to serve our state, they have some definite ideas about what we can do here in the Legislature," Saiki said.

Sabrina Bodon is Hawaiʻi Public Radio's government reporter. Contact her at sbodon@hawaiipublicradio.org or 808-792-8252.
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