Calvin Say

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Updated May 2017

Rep. Calvin Say is speaker emeritus of the Hawaii House of Representatives. He served as speaker from 1999 until January 2013, the longest tenure for a House Speaker in state history. Say was also the first Chinese-American to serve in the position.



The Basics

Rep. Calvin Say is speaker emeritus of the Hawaii House of Representatives. He served as speaker from 1999 until January 2013, the longest tenure for a House Speaker in state history. Say was also the first Chinese-American to serve in the position.

Say represents House District 20, which includes St. Louis Heights, Palolo Valley, Maunalani Heights, Wilhemina Rise and Kaimuki.

Born Feb. 1, 1952, he graduated from Saint Louis School and earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Political Career

Say was first elected to the state House in 1976 at age 25.

He held the position of House Finance chair before becoming speaker in 1998.

Shortly before the Legislature convened in January 2013, Maui Rep. Joe Souki gathered enough votes to replace Say as House speaker. A group of dissident Democrats gradually built up their membership until they had a majority and ousted Say.

Say had narrowly held on to the speaker post in the years prior 2013. For example, when the Legislature convened in January 2011, it was uncertain that Say would continue as speaker. He was short of the votes necessary to ensure another two-year term, because some Democrats desired fresh leadership.

But on the day the Legislature opened, he was re-elected by all 50 of his colleagues, including eight Republicans, to the position. His tenure was not without controversy, however.

During the 2010 legislative session, Say drew heat from supporters of House Bill 444, the Hawaii civil unions bill, and public worker unions. He failed to call the House for a special session to potentially override the ruling of HB 444 and did not support tax increases to increase the wages and benefit of the unions.

Say faced allegations that he did not live in the district he represents. He generally prevailed in court cases challenging his residency, with the judge ruling that it is up to House leaders to deal with the matter. In 2015, House leadership rejected the allegations that he did not live in his district for purposes of representing the area.

He was re-elected to his House seat in 2016 with 70 percent of the vote.


Calvin Say

July 2015

Wednesday, July 8

How Hawaii Lawmakers Spend Up to $13,000 a Year — Each

April 2015

Thursday, April 30

Seven Reps Break From Session’s Final Days to Raise Some Cash

Thursday, April 2

Hawaii Senate Panel to Review Galuteria’s Qualifications

March 2015

Friday, March 6

Hawaii House Is A-OK With Calvin Say

February 2015

Friday, February 27

Special Committee Finds Rep. Say Qualified to Continue Serving

Tuesday, February 24

House Lawmakers to Make Recommendation Friday on Rep’s Residency

Friday, February 13

Challenge Over Rep. Say’s Residency Forces House to Make ‘Judgment Call’

Monday, February 9

Hearing on Hawaii Rep. Calvin Say’s Residency Set for Friday

Wednesday, February 4

Where Does Hawaii State Rep. Calvin Say Really Live?

January 2015

Wednesday, January 21

Calvin Say Challengers Ask Souki for Action

November 2014

Thursday, November 13

Campaign Spending Commission Rejects Calvin Say Challenge

Wednesday, November 12

House Speaker Unveils Leadership Positions, Committee Chairs

October 2014

Tuesday, October 28

Yet Another Challenge to Calvin Say

Monday, October 20

Souki Declines to Take Up Calvin Say Residency Issue

Monday, October 6

Calvin Say Residency Challenge Not Over Yet

September 2014

Tuesday, September 30

Judge Tosses Calvin Say Lawsuit Questioning Residency

Thursday, September 18

Judge to Rule by Sept. 30 on Dismissal Motions in Calvin Say Residency Case

The Continuing Saga of Rep. Calvin Say’s Residency

August 2014

Friday, August 29

Judge: Hawaii House Can Intervene in Calvin Say Case

July 2014

Wednesday, July 23

Calvin Say Residency Trial Postponed to After Primaries

Friday, July 11

Calvin Say Ordered to Appear in Court to Prove Residency

April 2014

Thursday, April 24

Appeals Court: Calvin Say Must Prove He Lives in the District He Represents

May 2013

Thursday, May 2

Session Done, But Is Hawaii Speaker Consolidating Power?

January 2013

Tuesday, January 15

Lawsuit: Where Does Calvin Say Really Live?

December 2012

Friday, December 14

Say No More: Hawaii House Speaker Steps Down

November 2012

Wednesday, November 21

What Would the House of Souki Mean for Hawaii?

Wednesday, November 7

House Democrats May Dump Say For Souki

July 2012

Thursday, July 19

Calvin Say’s Hawaii House District 20 Survey

February 2012

Monday, February 20

Counties Want Break from Hawaii Sunshine Law

Saturday, February 11

The Speaker’s PAC

Wednesday, February 8

Leaders Split on Lawmaker Disclosure Deadline

Wednesday, February 1

Say, Tsutsui Pull in Mediocre Campaign Contributions

June 2011

Tuesday, June 7

Tsutsui Let Lawmaker Vote To Confirm His Own Son

No Conflict? I Own a Company That Brokers Health Insurance

No Conflict? I Have a Family Member at University of Hawaii

Monday, June 6

No Conflict? When Reasonable Minds Disagree

No Conflict? My Family’s in Mortgage Remodification With Our Lender

No Conflict? I Serve on the Board of Directors of Legal Aid

Sunday, June 5

No Conflict? My Law Partner Lobbies This Bill

Saturday, June 4

No Conflict? My Wife Is From Peru

No Conflict? I Live on Land Zoned Agricultural

Friday, June 3

No Conflict? At My Gas Station We Sell Petroleum Products

No Conflict? I Am an Importer of Liquor

No Conflict? My Grandson Is a Med School Student

No Conflict? Ground Rules in the Hawaii House

May 2011

Friday, May 27

No Conflict: Lawmaker by Day, Lobbyist by Night

Thursday, May 26

When Hawaii Reps Ask, Say Says ‘No Conflict’

Sunday, May 15

Speaker Say: Reflections on the Session

March 2011

Thursday, March 24

Bringing Home The Bacon — The Raw Numbers

Wednesday, March 23

Calvin Say Supporters Bring Home The Bacon

Friday, March 18

Hawaii House Dissidents Dissed — The Raw Numbers

Wednesday, March 16

Off the Beat: Say Wanted The Power — But Not the Responsibility

Are Hawaii House Dissidents Getting Dissed?