Senate President Ronald Kouchi is not interested in taking over as the state’s lieutenant governor.
Kouchi was first in line for the post vacated when Shan Tsutsui resigned this week to join a lobbying and public affairs firm.
“My term expires in 2020, so had I accepted the position of lieutenant governor, then I had at least three options I could see,” Kouchi said.
“One is that I would have to run in 2018 in a special election for Senate District 8 to regain my Senate seat when my time as lieutenant governor ended.
“The second would be that I would run for lieutenant governor.
“And the third would be that I would serve the term as lieutenant governor and then simply retire from elected politics.”
Kouchi says he certainly does not feel like he is ready to retire.
“We have three of my Senate colleagues here that have already been carrying on vigorous campaigns for the office of lieutenant governor,” he said.
“Mayor Carvalho has been running a vigorous campaign for the office of lieutenant governor, so I would be jumping in from a disadvantage as far as trying to get elected to be lieutenant governor.”
“So in looking at the options that were there, I felt that my best contribution for both Kauai and the state of Hawaii would be to fulfill my term for Senate District 8 to 2020 and then, certainly at least for now and the present, in the Senate. And I think that would be of better advantage for Kauai as far as being able to make a difference. That’s where I think that I could make the best difference.”
When asked what his future plans were for the next decade, Kouchi said, “We’ll just have to see when we get to 2020.”
The House speaker has the next spot in the line of succession, but Speaker of the House Scott Saiki said he has no desire to be the next lieutenant governor of Hawaii, either.