During a Democratic caucus to organize the state Senate this week, freshmen lawmakers like Gary Hooser of Wailua were given the option of chairing a committee or serving on the Ways & Means Committee.
He chose Ways & Means, the Senate’s money committee.
“That is a crucial position for Kaua’i,” he said. “Virtually every money bill goes to Ways & Means for final approval,” so he’ll be able to influence fellow senators to pass bills containing money for Kaua’i.
“The number-one priority is to be on Ways & Means. I’m very pleased with the end result of the organization,” said Hooser, who is vice chair of the Senate Education Committee and a member of the committees on Consumer Protection and Housing, Human Services, and Energy and Environment.
“That’s a good fit, too, given my work in those areas with the council, and supporting and working with Mina,” he said of state Rep. Mina Morita (D, north and east Kaua’i), who yesterday was again named chair of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee.
Hooser, the first Kauaian in a decade to represent the entire county in the state Senate, arrived with impressive credentials. He tallied more votes than any other candidate for any state Senate seat in Hawai’i, 15,832, winning 67.5 percent of all votes cast on Kaua’i and Ni’ihau during the general election.
No other candidate for any other office got more votes than Hooser on Kaua’i, with former Mayor and County Councilmember JoAnn A. Yukimura coming in second, with 14,003.
Hooser plans to commute between his Wailua home and his Honolulu office, and will maintain a studio apartment for days when he has to remain on O’ahu overnight, he said.
Between now and the opening of the session in mid-January, he will travel to O’ahu twice a week, he said.
He is accepting rsums for those interested in serving on his office staff in Honolulu, which he will begin moving into on Tuesday, and for a part-time Kaua’i liaison.
Rsums can be sent care of him to his Honolulu office, Hawai’i State Capitol, Room 206, 415 S. Beretania St., Honolulu, HI 96813. His toll-free phone number is 274-3141, then 6-7344# after the recorded message.
Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:email@example.com or 245-3681 (ext. 224).