No matter who wins the battle for the Democratic nomination for governor, incumbent Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui should be on the ballot as his running mate.
In the Aug. 9 primary, candidates for lieutenant governor will be running on their own. The winner of the primary will then join the party nominee for governor as a single entity on the ballot for voters in the general election in November.
Tsutsui has been lieutenant governor of Hawaii since his predecessor, Brian Schatz, was appointed to the United States Senate following the death of Daniel Inouye in December 2012.
Prior to his ascendancy to the lieutenant governorship, Tsutsui was serving as president of the Hawaii State Senate. Under Hawaii's constitution, the Senate president has first option if there is a vacancy in the office of lieutenant governor. When Schatz left for the U.S. Senate, Tsutsui opted to take his place.
Tsutsui has been a rising star in Maui and Hawaii politics for more than a decade. He represented Maui in the state Senate from 2003-2012. He took over as Senate president in 2010 when Colleen Hanabusa left the body for a successful run for the 1st District U.S. House of Representatives seat.
While in the Senate, Tsutsui was part of a strong legislative team from Maui that, among others, included House Speaker Joe Souki, Sen. Roz Baker and Rep. Angus McKelvey.
As lieutenant governor, he has joined fellow Mauian and Director of Finance Kalbert Young as a close adviser to Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
Tsutsui has been mentioned as a possible future gubernatorial candidate. Others speculate that he will run for mayor of Maui when his next term expires.
Whatever his future plans are, Tsutsui is a valuable asset for Maui and Hawaii. We would recommend a vote for Shan Tsutsui for lieutenant governor.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.