Welcome to Gov Watch! Governor-Elect Neil Abercrombie is clearly eager to get to work and so are we. The transition is under way and Civil Beat is reporting from the inside.

4:52 p.m. “Where’s Duke?”

According to the lieutenant governor’s official schedule, James “Duke” Aiona has had no public appearances since the election. The last scheduled event, on Oct. 30, indicates Aiona attended the opening ceremony of Splendor of China, the kickoff for the Chinese Chamber of Commerce’s Narcissus Festival.

Meanwhile, Aiona’s campaign website features a Nov. 3 posting where he thanks supporters and puts his spin on his losing campaign: “Unfortunately, in the end, we came up short, unable to combat the late swell of negative advertising from special interests and outside influences.”

Perhaps the LG will make an appearance at the 20th Annual Transform Our World International Conference, a six-day event that begins this evening at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Last year Aiona was a featured speaker at the event.

1:45 p.m. Handicapping the Senate Re-Org

For the first time in a decade the state Senate is no longer controlled by two powerful women, Colleen Hanabusa and Donna Mercado Kim. New President Shan Tsutsui — a young climber like Brian Schatz before him — and Ways & Means boss David Ige are collaborative types that seek consensus.

Hanabusa’s faction — including Russell Kokubun, Brian Taniguchi and Dwight Takamine — was iced-out of the new leadership, although having the Big Island’s Kokubun heading Water and Land makes good sense.

Wild cards: Clayton Hee back in charge of Judiciary, though his ties to Neil Abercrombie should make confirmation hearings run smoother than when Linda Lingle pushed her nominees. VP Kim could still stir up trouble with investigative powers and tourism oversight. And Josh Green is openly campaigning to be Abercrombie’s health director. Will the new gov look to lawmakers to fill his cabinet?

11:28 a.m. House Speakership Contested

Calvin Say is still a few votes short of the 26 required to hold onto his job as speaker. Challenger Sylvia Luke has the support of about 18 Democratic representatives.

Say has managed to hang on to the speakership since 1999 despite previous uprisings from members hungry for new leadership in the House. Democrats now number 43 members; the eight Republicans picked minority leader Gene Ward earlier this week.

A third compromise candidate could also emerge for the top House job, like Marcus Oshiro or Roy Takumi. The hope is to settle leadership questions before Thanksgiving and definitely before the Dec. 6 inauguration, but for now it’s all “up in the air,” say insiders.

10:12 a.m. The LG-elect Is In the House

Brian Schatz is making good on a promise by Neil Abercrombie to make his LG the point man on federal money for Hawaii.

Schatz is at a hearing at the Capitol today on oversight of stimulus funds for health and human services.

Catch up on our previous coverage:

Follow Civil Beat on Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for Civil Beat’s free daily newsletter.

About the Author