During the campaign, Gov.-elect Neil Abercrombie pledged to inaugurate an “agricultural renaissance” in Hawaii, and he’s tapped a veteran political figure to make it happen.
Abercrombie on Saturday appointed the 2nd District Sen. Russell Kokubun to the Department of Agriculture. His nomination comes on the heels of Dwight Takamine’s appointment to the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations after serving half a term as the senator from the 1st District.
The Big Island will lose two-thirds of its elected state Senate delegation if Abercrombie’s appointments are confirmed.
All of Abercrombie’s appointments must be confirmed by the state Senate.
If Takamine and Kokubun are approved, Abercrombie will appoint senators to replace them.
Kokubun was elected to the Hawaii County Council in 1984 and served until 1992, including the last four years as chairman. He resigned to run for mayor but lost to Stephen Yamashiro in the primary election. Gov. Ben Cayetano appointed him in 1998 to the Board of Land and Natural Resources.
Two years later, when state Sen. Andy Levin resigned the South Hawaii seat to serve in the Kim administration, Cayetano tapped Kokubun for the seat.
In the Senate, Kokubun rose to the position of vice president. In November the Senate leadership reorganized and Kokubun was named chairman of the Water and Land Committee.