LIHUE — Dan Kouchi, the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii’s new assistant vice president for government affairs and alliances, will not be lobbying at the office of his father, Senate President Ron Kouchi of Kauai.
The chamber’s President and CEO, Sherry Menor- McNamara, said in a statement Wednesday that in order to avoid any perceived conflict of interest, Dan Kouchi “will not be advocating Senate president’s office, including any activities related to minimum wage.”
The chamber has been an outspoken opponent of minimum wage increases.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige has introduced a bill that would incrementally increase the state minimum wage to $15 per hour.
Kouchi’s hiring was made public this week, fueling speculation by some state officials that his relationship with his father could disrupt proposals to increase the state minimum wage, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
When asked about a potential conflict of interest, Ron Kouchi said there was none.
Menor-McNamara said Dan Kouchi, a Kauai native and a Kauai High School graduate, will deal with “county and some federal issues.”
A spokesperson for the chamber of commerce said Kouchi has worked in various positions for the Hawaii congressional delegation for the last six years.
Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.