Gov. Neil Abercrombie has announced two appointments to the State Senate: Malama Solomon, Ph.D., to represent Senate District 1 and Rep. Maile Shimabukuro to represent Senate District 21.
Solomon replaces Dwight Takamine, who represented Hilo, Hamakua, and Waimea, before he was appointed by Abercrombie as Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
Shimabukuro fills the seat left vacant by Congresswoman-elect Colleen Hanabusa, who represented the Waianae Coast.
“Maile and Malama were selected from a group of fine candidates with outstanding credentials,” Abercrombie said. “They are dedicated public servants who will help move the state forward in these difficult economic conditions.”
Shimabukuro (D-Waianae, Makaha, Makua) represented the Waianae Coast district since 2003. She is also an attorney with Legal Services Organization, where she specializes in family, housing, public benefits and consumer court and administrative proceedings. Prior to that, she was a law clerk at the State of Hawaii District Court.
Shimabukuro is also involved in many community organizations, including Mao Organic Farms, Leeward Community College Waianae Community Advisory Board, and “People’s Path.”
Shimabukuro received her law degree from University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and her BA in English from the Colorado College.
Solomon has spent 18 years in public service, as a Trustee with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and 16 years in the state Senate. Solomon is the owner and manager of a 1,600-acre ranch in Waimea, North Kohala and Hamakua.
Solomon also serves as the Kakau Olelo (historian) to the Beamer-Solomon Halau O Poohalu. She holds a Ph.D. in Education from Oregon State University, a MA in Education and BA in Cultural Anthropology from UH-Manoa.
Under state law, the governor must appoint replacements for vacancies in the state senate. A list of potential candidates is provided to the governor by the same political party as the incumbent. The appointee must live in the same senate district as the prior incumbent.
Shimabukuro and Solomon will serve terms until the 2012 general election.
Sen. Russell Kokubun (D-Hilo, Puna, Ka`u) will resign Dec. 31 to become Interim Director of the Department of Agriculture. Abercrombie must appoint Kokubun’s replacement within 60 calendar days following the first day of vacancy after his resignation.