Abercrombie appoints Keith-Agaran to Central Maui 5th Senate seat

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has appointed Kahului state Rep. Gil Keith-Agaran to the 5th Senate District seat vacated when former Sen. Shan Tsutsui accepted an appointment to lieutenant governor.

The appointment is effective immediately.

Keith-Agaran, 50, of Kahului was one of three candidates forwarded to Abercrombie by Maui Democrats. The other two candidates were church pastor and former Democratic House candidate Natalie A. “Tasha” Kama and Mary D. Wagner, business continuity plan manager for Maui County.

“Gil brings a wealth of experience from the practice of law and work in county and state government,” Abercrombie said in announcing Keith-Agaran’s appointment Monday afternoon. “His passion for the people of the Valley Isle is evident, and I am confident he will continue to serve them well.”

Keith-Agaran had been designated to be House majority leader.

His appointment now leaves a vacancy for his 9th House District seat.

In August, Keith-Agaran successfully held off a Democratic primary challenge from Council Member Joe Pontanilla. Because there was no Republican candidate for the solidly Democratic House seat, Keith-Agaran effectively won his third term in office in his party’s primary.

He was originally appointed to the House in January 2009 to complete the unexpired term of the late Bob Nakasone.

Keith-Agaran has continued to practice law in Wailuku as a partner in the law firm of Takitani Agaran and Jorgensen LLLP. He previously served as chairman and deputy director of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources, director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and deputy director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

He also was director of the county Department of Public Works.

He is married to Kallie Keith-Agaran.

For more on this story, read the Tuesday edition of The Maui News.