HAWAII—Filipino-American Hawaii State Senator Donna Mercado Kim (D-Moanalua, Aiea, Kalihi Valley) has been selected as the new senate president of the Hawaii legislature.
The state’s upper house reorganizes, after the death of long-time Filipino champion and US senator Daniel Inouye.
Kim, the former vice president of the senate, will now preside during the 27th Hawaii State Legislature this month, replacing Senator Shan Tsutsui, who was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor.
Hawaii Governor Neil Abercombrie chose former lieutenant governor Brian Schatz as Inouye’s successor to the US Senate.
“We are solidified in dealing with the pressing issues facing our State. The Senate continues to be organized in a cooperative and focused manner. I’m humbled to receive the confidence and support of my colleagues,” said Senate President Kim, who was first elected to the senate in 2000.
Kim becomes the first Filipino-American to head Hawaii’s senate. Ronald Kouchi takes over Kim’s old post as the new Senate vice president. Brickwood Galuteria is the majority leader.
Kim has long been active in the state political scene having served as a former representative of the Hawaii State House of Representatives from 1982 to 1985 and as a Honolulu City Councilwoman from 1985 to 2000. In 2000, she was elected to the state’s senate.
Kim is one of three Filipino-Americans in the state senate. Others include Will Espero (19th District); and Donovan Dela Cruz (22nd District). Joseph Pimentel/Asian Journal