Chin to Succeed Tsutsui as Lieutenant Governor

Updated at 10:15 to include a statement from Governor David Ige.

By operation of law, Attorney General Doug Chin became Hawai`i’s new Lieutenant Governor on Friday after former Lieutenant Governor Shan Tsutsui resigned from office on January 31 and other public officials in the order of succession declined the office.

Hawai`i law provides for an orderly succession in the event of a vacancy of the office of Lieutenant Governor. Upon Tsutsui’s resignation as Lieutenant Governor, Chin was third in the line of succession after state Senate President Ron Kouchi and Speaker of the House of Representatives Scott Saiki. Kouchi and Saiki each declined the position earlier this week.

Chin was nominated by Governor David Ige to become Attorney General in 2015 and unanimously confirmed by the state Senate on March 12, 2015. From August 1, 2016 to the present, Chin served on the Executive Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General. On October 28, 2017, the Hawaii State Bar Association awarded Chin the “Champion for Social Justice Award” at its annual convention.

The Governor has appointed First Deputy Attorney General Russell Suzuki to serve as Acting Attorney General. By law this appointment can last no longer than 60 days. The next attorney general must be appointed and confirmed by the Senate, to serve during the remainder of the Governor’s current term. Suzuki has been a Deputy Attorney General for 36 years, and has served as First Deputy Attorney General under Attorneys General Mark Bennett, David Louie, and Chin.

Governor David Ige released the following statement:

“I thank Doug for his work as the state’s top law enforcement official and look forward to continued collaboration with him as he becomes Hawaiʻi’s Lieutenant Governor. I have appointed Russell Suzuki to serve as Acting Attorney General and am confident he will provide expert direction for the department until I announce the appointment of a new Attorney General.”