Legislature names leadership, committee chairs

Both chambers of the state Legislature announced their leadership and committee chairs for the 2021 session that begins Jan. 21.

Ronald Kouchi and Scott Saiki remain Senate president and House speaker, respectively.


In the Senate, Michelle Kidani will be vice president, with J. Kalani English as majority leader, Big Island Sen. Dru Kanuha as majority caucus leader, Les Ihara Jr. as majority policy leader and Kurt Fevella, the body’s lone GOP member, as minority leader and minority floor leader.

In the House, John Mizuno replaces Big Island Rep. Mark Nakashima as vice speaker. Reps. Della Au Belatti and Dee Morikawa retain their positions as majority leader and majority floor leader, respectively.

Big Island Sen. Lorraine Inouye moves from chairing the Transportation Committee to helming the Water and Land Committee and will remain on the Transportation Committee as vice chair. Newly elected Sen. Joy San Buenaventura of Puna will chair the Human Services Committee. And Kanuha will be vice chair of the Housing Committee.

Other Senate committee chairs include: Mike Gabbard, Agriculture and Environment; Roslyn Baker, Commerce and Consumer Protection; Kidani, Education; Glenn Wakai, Energy, Economic Development and Tourism; Sharon Moriwaki, Government Operations; Maile Shimabukuro, Hawaiian Affairs; Jarrett Keohokalole, Health; Stanley Chang, Housing; Donna Mercado Kim, Higher Education; Karl Rhoads, Judiciary; Brian Taniguchi, Labor, Culture and Arts; Clarence Nishihara, Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs; Chris Lee, Transportation; and Donavan Dela Cruz, Ways and Means,

In the House, Big Island representatives who will chair committees in the upcoming session include: Nicole Lowen, who remains at the helm of Energy and Environmental Protection; Nakashima, Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs; Richard Onishi, Labor and Tourism; and David Tarnas, Water and Land.


Rep. Mark Hashem assumes chairmanship of the Agriculture Committee, replacing Big Island Rep. Richard Creagan, who didn’t run for re-election. And Rep. Linda Ishiyama was named chair of the newly formed Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Committee.

Other committee chairmanships include: Aaron Ling Johanson, Consumer Protection and Commerce; Takashi Ohno, Corrections, Military and Veterans; Cedric Asuega Gates, Culture and Arts; Sean Quinlan, Economic Development; Justin Woodson, Education; Sylvia Luke, Finance; Angus McKelvey, Government Reform; Ryan Yamane, Health, Human Services and Homelessness; Gregg Takayama, Higher Education and Technology; Dale Kobayashi, Legislative Management; and Henry Aquino, Transportation.