Governor Neil Abercrombie has selected a young leader of the state Legislature, Rep. Blake Oshiro, to serve as his deputy chief of staff, saying Oshiro’s “legislative background and commitment to doing what’s right will help us move our agenda forward.”
Oshiro, an attorney, has been serving as Majority Leader in the House of Representatives and held office in the 33rd District (Aiea, Halawa Valley, Halawa Heights, Aiea Heights) for 11 years.
“I sincerely believe in the governor, I sincerely believe in his vision,” Oshiro said at an afternoon news conference.
“I decided to take on this new role with different opportunities and challenges because the governor has a great team and I am excited to do my part toeards making his plans the reality of Hawaii’s future,” Oshiro said.
Oshiro said he is withdrawing from his law practice and will step down from the Legislature by December 7.
Abercrombie will name Oshiro’s replacement in the House, but said today he has no names in mind yet.
Oshiro’s new job should solidify the administration’s communications with legislators, which were criticized during the past session as muddied and ineffective.
The governor’s first chief of staff, Amy Asselbaye, and her deputy, Andrew Aoki, resigned last month, as did Abercrombie’s communications director and deputy director, Josh Levinson and Laurie Au.
The chief of staff position has been filled by former state Comptroller Bruce Coppa.
Abercrombie said today he has no immediate plans to name a new comptroller.
The transition from Coppa to Acting Comptroller Jan Gouvieia has been a seamless one, said Abercrombie.
Speaker of the House, Calvin K.Y. Say, said: “I congratulate Blake for his appointment as Governor Abercrombie’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Although Blake’s departure is a big loss to the House, his appointment to a major executive branch policy position represents a much bigger gain for the State of Hawaii. Blake’s dedication, intelligence, common sense, and compassion will be great attributes to achieve the betterment of all Hawaii. I will miss Blake as a Majority Leader and colleague. I will miss his daily advice and observations. Most importantly, I will miss his principles, unselfishness, and political courage which, even after 34 years in politics, were an inspiration to me.”
Under state law, Abercrombie must appoint Oshiro’s replacement within 60 days.