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.

 

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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
Yet Another Challenge to Calvin Say PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Yet Another Challenge to Calvin Say

This one concerns his use of campaign funds for attorney fees, which a constituent alleges is illegal.
Souki Declines to Take Up Calvin Say Residency Issue Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Souki Declines to Take Up Calvin Say Residency Issue

The Hawaii House speaker says that, with two weeks before the election, the body can't call itself into session.
Calvin Say Residency Challenge Not Over Yet Chad Blair/Civil Beat

Calvin Say Residency Challenge Not Over Yet

Six Palolo voters ask the Hawaii state House to investigate the representative's qualifications and expel him for failing to live in his district.
Judge Tosses Calvin Say Lawsuit Questioning Residency Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

Judge Tosses Calvin Say Lawsuit Questioning Residency

It is the Hawaii House of Representatives, and not the courts, who have jurisdiction regarding the qualifications of members.
Judge to Rule by Sept. 30 on Dismissal Motions in Calvin Say Residency Case PF Bentley/Civil Beat

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

One motion was dismissed Thursday in challenge to House speaker emeritus, but two others are pending.
The Continuing Saga of Rep. Calvin Say’s Residency PF Bentley/Civil Beat

The Continuing Saga of Rep. Calvin Say’s Residency

The Hawaii speaker emeritus has a hearing Thursday on motions to dismiss a lawsuit claiming he doesn't live in the district he represents.
Judge: Hawaii House Can Intervene in Calvin Say Case PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Judge: Hawaii House Can Intervene in Calvin Say Case

Six district residents argue that the former speaker does not actually live in Palolo.
Calvin Say Residency Trial Postponed to After Primaries Civil Beat

Calvin Say Residency Trial Postponed to After Primaries

A lawsuit contends the lawmaker isn't qualified to represent his district because he doesn't actually live there.
Calvin Say Ordered to Appear in Court to Prove Residency PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Calvin Say Ordered to Appear in Court to Prove Residency

The court date is set for August 8, a day before the primary election.
Appeals Court: Calvin Say Must Prove He Lives in the District He Represents

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

Hawaii's Intermediate Court of Appeals decision could require proof for Say to continue to serve Palolo.
Session Done, But Is Hawaii Speaker Consolidating Power? Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

Session Done, But Is Hawaii Speaker Consolidating Power?

Hawaii House adds four more to leadership slate, new gig will include $12,000 more each for staff.
Lawsuit: Where Does Calvin Say Really Live?

Lawsuit: Where Does Calvin Say Really Live?

District 20 voters challenge his eligibility to represent Palolo Valley in the Legislature.