LIHUE — Gov. David Ige on Thursday appointed Clare Conners to serve as the state’s next attorney general.
Conners, a civil litigator with the Honolulu law firm Davis Levin Livingston since 2011, will replace current Attorney General Russel Suzuki, pending confirmation by the Senate. During a press conference Thursday, Ige said he expects Conners will start in mid-January.
“It is a privilege and an honor to serve the people of Hawaii in this capacity,” Connors said.
When asked about Honolulu prosecuting attorney Keith Kaneshiro, who has been targeted in an expanding criminal probe into the city’s law enforcement, Conners said “I haven’t looked into that issue in this capacity,” but told reporters, “I think there are concerns.”
Connors said her biggest priority right now is “getting boots on the ground,” to see what the attorneys in her new office are working on.
Ige said he expects “a portion” of Connors job will include challenging the federal government under the Trump administration on issues that conflict with the state’s values.
“With the federal government taking on many positions I think that are not consistent with the values of our community, we do expect that there would be significant activity protecting the values and interest of our community in general,” Ige said.
Conners double-majored at Yale, graduated with honors and went on to serve as operations coordinator for the New York City’s Parks &Recreation Department under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. In 1999, she left the Parks Department to attend Harvard Law School, where she earned her juris doctor degree.
Conners began her legal career in Hawaii as a law clerk for federal District Judge David Ezra and was an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Hawaii from 2004 to March 2011. Prior to that she was part of the Attorney General’s Honors program with the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and worked as a trial attorney for the DOJ Tax Division.
Ige said Conners is “an accomplished attorney who has experience with both criminal and civil litigation. She has the skills to defend the state in legal proceedings, provide outstanding legal advice and counsel, and manage the largest law firm in the state.”
Ige added that Conners “brings new insight and a terrific understanding of the law,” to the attorney general’s office, which he said is important because, “you know, I get sued pretty much every day.”
Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.