HI Governor Neil Abercrombie has picked Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz to fill the seat held by the late Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye, who died last week. The move goes against the wishes of the late senator, who publicly backed Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa as his successor.
Schatz was among 14 people who had applied for the vacancy, and one of three finalists considered by the governor. Other finalists selected by the Hawaii Democratic Party's state central committee included Hanabusa, and Hawaii Land and Natural Resources Deputy Director Esther Kiaaina. Hawaii law stipulates that an appointed senator must be of the same party as their predecessor.
Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz was inaugurated to his current post on Dec. 6, 2010. Before being elected lieutenant governor, he served for eight years as the CEO of Helping Hands Hawai'i, one of Hawaii's largest non-profit community social services organizations. From 1998 to 2006, Schatz served as a member of the state House of Representatives.
Schatz was raised in Hawai'i, and graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, CA.
Schatz will also likely leapfrog in seniority over Hawaii's other new senator, current Rep. Mazie Horono (D). She's scheduled to assume office Jan. 3, 2013, but Schatz should beat her by a week or so.